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Tlaib, Meadows clash over alleged 'racist act' at Cohen hearing

Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' MORE (D-Mich.) and Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump administration revives talk of action on birthright citizenship 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 John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump 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 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.

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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 CummingsVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? 'Kamala' and 'Kobe' surge in popularity among baby names 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.”