Meadows, Tlaib hug it out after fiery exchange over racism

Reps. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsMeadows, Cotton introduce bill to prevent district judges from blocking federal policy changes The Hill's Morning Report - Trump ousts Bolton; GOP exhales after win in NC Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader MORE (R-N.C.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOmar says she hopes Netanyahu not reelected Bill Maher, Michael Moore spar over Democrats' strategy for 2020 Young insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight MORE (D-Mich.) hugged on the House floor Thursday, one day after clashing over allegations of racism during a fiery moment at Michael Cohen's House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing.
 
Meadows and Tlaib engaged in a one-on-one conversation on the floor during votes Thursday to clear the air about Wednesday's incident, when Tlaib criticized Meadows for bringing an African-American Trump administration official to the hearing to refute allegations the president is racist.

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-PowellDebbie Mucarsel-PowellGun epidemic is personal for lawmakers touched by violence Democrats race against clock with push for impeachment Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback MORE (D-Fla.) said she witnessed the exchange and described it as genuine.

Tlaib, who earned headlines in January for telling supporters the House was going to "impeach the motherf---er" in reference to Trump, accused Meadows on Wednesday of using the official as a prop.
 

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"She said she didn't mean it yesterday, so there was no need to apologize," Meadows, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told reporters afterward. "I wanted her to know and she wanted me to know that our relationship is one that will hopefully provide real good results going forward."
 
"I certainly respect the fact that she is representing 750,000 people just like I am. And so it's important for all 435 of us to show respect and civility to each other, regardless of our differences on policy."
 
A spokesman for Tlaib didn't immediately return a request for comment.
 
During Wednesday's hearing, Tlaib took issue with Meadows bringing Trump administration staffer Lynne Patton to the hearing as a way to deflect accusations of racism.
 
"Just because someone has a person of color, a black person, working for them does not mean they aren't racist," said Tlaib, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
 
"And it is insensitive ... the fact that someone would actually use a prop, a black woman, in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself," Tlaib said.
 
Meadows asked for her comments to be stricken from the record and rejected Tlaib's argument.
 
"There’s nothing more personal to me than my relationship — my nieces and nephews are people of color. Not many people know that," Meadows said.
 
"And to indicate that I asked someone who is a personal friend of the Trump family, who has worked for him, who knows this particular individual — that she’s coming in to be a prop. It’s racist to suggest that I asked her to come in here for that reason," he said.
 
Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsPence extends olive branch to Cummings after Trump's Baltimore attacks Infrastructure needed to treat addiction as chronic disease doesn't exist GOP retreat creates WiFi password blasting socialism MORE (D-Md.), who is black, then intervened.
 
“I could see and feel your pain. I feel it,” Cummings told Meadows. “And so, and I don’t think Ms. Tlaib intended to cause you that, that kind of pain and that kind of frustration.”
 
Tlaib then clarified her comments and said she wasn't calling Meadows a racist.
 
“As everybody knows in this chamber, I’m pretty direct, so I, if I wanted to say that, I would have,” Tlaib said. “But that’s not what I said.”
 
Patton on Thursday denied the suggestion that she was used as a "prop" at the hearing.
 
“I was not there to represent an entire race of people. I was there to represent one man,” Patton told "Fox & Friends."
 
After the clash with Tlaib, a video surfaced of Meadows saying in 2012 that it was "the time that we're going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is." 
 
Meadows won election to the House that year, while then-President Obama won reelection.
 
When asked about the video Thursday, Meadows called it "old news."
 
"I've addressed that dozens of times and candidly apologized for that a number of times. It was when I was running for office and answered a question — I actually had just gotten back from Kenya. We had been doing mission work in Kenya, so anybody who knows me knows that I really show respect regardless of race or gender," Meadows told reporters outside the House chamber.