- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2019

CNN host Don Lemon blasted Republican Rep. Mark Meadows for purportedly using a black Trump administration official as a “live prop” to demonstrate that President Trump isn’t racist during the Michael Cohen hearing on Wednesday.

Housing and Urban Development official Lynne Patton, who was invited to the hearing as Mr. Meadows‘ guest, sat behind the congressman and was introduced during a line of questions over Mr. Cohen’s claim that President Trump is racist.

Mr. Meadows argued that Ms. Patton, a longtime ally of the Trump family who had known Mr. Cohen for years, would never work for a racist. She didn’t speak during the hearing.

The act of introducing Ms. Patton outraged several members of Congress, including Reps. Brenda Lawrence and Rashida Tlaib, who also used the word “prop.”

On his show Wednesday night, Mr. Lemon said Ms. Patton was used like a “live prop.”

“Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, he brought a special guest, Lynne Patton, a Trump administration official, as if she were a live prop, trotting her out in an attempt to prove that this president couldn’t possibly be a racist,” Mr. Lemon said.

He said the act was like Mr. Meadows saying, “I have a black friend prop. A black employee prop. Come on, y’all. What he’s essentially saying is this president can’t be racist because he’s hired this black woman. That’s not how racism works.”

Mr. Lemon said he tried to get Mr. Meadows on the show to defend himself but he chose to talk to Fox News’ Sean Hannity instead.

“I think I could have had a really good conversation about this with him,” the CNN host said. “I’d still like to have that conversation.”

Ms. Patton has responded to her critics, telling “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning that she was not at the hearing “to represent an entire race of people” but to “represent one man,” the president, whom she said has done more for black Americans than past presidents.

She also defended herself in an Instagram post Wednesday evening.

“Today a race card was played,” Ms. Patton wrote. “But not by Congressman Mark Meadows. But rather by those on the House Oversight Committee who sadly placed more credence on the word of a self-confessed convicted perjurer, than that of a highly-educated black woman who rose up the ranks of one of the most recognized global real-estate companies in the world, spoke before 25 million people at the Republican National Convention and now successfully oversees the largest HUD program office in the country.

“That is not the resume of a prop,” she added.

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