- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2019

Housing and Urban Development official Lynne Patton fired back at Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who suggested that Ms. Patton, who is black, was Republican Rep. Mark Meadows’ “prop” during the Michael Cohen hearing on Wednesday.

Ms. Patton, a Republican with ties to the Trump family for more than a decade, sat behind Mr. Meadows during the hearing and was introduced by the congressman during a line of questions over Mr. Cohen’s claim that President Trump is racist.

“She says as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Alabama, that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was a racist,” Mr. Meadows told the House Oversight Committee.

Ms. Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, took issue with Mr. Meadows’ gesture, saying, “The fact that someone would actually use a prop, a black woman in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself.”

Ms. Tlaib later clarified that she was not calling Mr. Meadows racist but that bringing in Ms. Patton was a “racist act.”

Mr. Meadows responded, “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 [pointing to Mr. Cohen], 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.”

Ms. Patton defended herself during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning, saying she was “not there to represent an entire race of people” but to “represent one man,” the president, who she said has done more for black Americans than past presidents.

She also addressed Ms. Tlaib’s comments 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.

Ms. Tlaib defended her comments on CNN Thursday morning, saying Mr. Meadows’ act of inviting Ms. Patton was “insensitive.”

“I want [Ms. Patton] to know that it was no disrespect to her at all,” the congresswoman said. “I think she should be commended for her extreme leadership, for her work in the administration.”

However, Ms. Tlaib said that Mr. Meadows should have been able to “debate” or “disagree” with Mr. Cohen without including Ms. Patton.

“I think there was a better way of doing that,” added Ms. Tlaib, who is Muslim. “At that moment, it was important for me to speak to truth to power. It was important for me to speak out against that action that I thought was very hurtful and very painful for many of us sitting in that committee room.”

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