Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHouse Democrats inquire about possible census undercount in Detroit, other communities Michigan redistricting spat exposes competing interests in Democratic coalition Tlaib announces run in new Detroit district with Lawrence retiring MORE (D-Mich.) and Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsLaura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 Tucker Carlson extends influence on GOP Jan. 6 panel asks McCarthy to cooperate MORE (R-N.C.) clashed during Michael Cohen's congressional hearing on Wednesday when she condemned as a "racist act" his use of a statement by a single black woman to disprove allegations of racism against President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Laura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement MORE.
"Just because someone has a person of color, a black person working for them does not mean that they aren't racist," Tlaib said at the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing.
"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 continued, getting emotional.
Meadows angrily accuses Tlaib of racism for calling him racist pic.twitter.com/4Wj6FcJO6l— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 27, 2019
Meadows had invited Lynne Patton, a Trump administration staffer, who is black, to the hearing to push back against Cohen's allegations during his testimony that the president is a racist.
Meadows immediately responded to Tlaib, asking that her comments be stricken from the record as he believed it was an attack on him.
The freshman Democrat then repeated her comments, and clarified that she wasn't accusing Meadows of being a racist but that she believed it was a "racist act" to bring a black woman to the hearing to counter allegations of racism against Trump.
"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 has worked for this particulate individual … that’s she’s coming in to be a prop, it’s racist to suggest that I asked her to come in for that reason," he said.
“She came in because she felt like the president was being falsely accused,” Meadows added.
The Freedom Caucus head then addressed Oversight Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Manchin says no; White House fires back House Democrats find drug companies 'unjustified' in price hikes Your must-read holiday book list from members of Congress MORE (D-Md.), who is black, saying that he and Cummings “have a personal relationship that’s not based on color and to even go down this direction is wrong.”
“If there’s anyone who is sensitive in regard to race, it’s me, son of former sharecroppers who were basically slaves, so I get it,” Cummings said.
The chairman said he didn’t believe that Tlaib was calling Meadows a racist.
“I could see and feel your pain, I feel it,” Cummings told the North Carolina Republican. “And so I don’t think Ms. Tlaib intended to cause you that, that kind of pain and frustration.”
Tlaib again clarified her comments, repeating her statement that she was not calling Meadows a racist.
“As everybody knows in this chamber, I’m pretty direct. If I wanted to say that I would have,” she said. “But that’s not what I said.”