Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) appeared on CNN’s New Day on Thursday morning to double down on comments she made during a clash with Republican Mark Meadows of Ohio that livened up the end of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s testimony to the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
Tlaib had used some of her allotted speaking time to object to a stunt Meadows pulled earlier in the day, when he paraded an African-American employee of the Trump administration in front of Cohen to counter the lawyer’s charge that the president is a racist. Meadows became incensed at the thought that his colleague was calling him a racist, forcing the entire hearing to grind to a complete stop while Tlaib and committee chairman Elijah Cummings tended to his hurt feelings.
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota read a quote the employee, Lynne Patton, had given to another morning show, in which she ran through her credentials and asserted that these were “not the resume of a prop.” She seems to miss that having one African-American with such a resume in an administration dominated by white hires is the very definition of a useful prop, though Camerota did not address that.
After some back and forth in which Tlaib explained how she had felt about Patton’s appearance and why it was important for her to push back on it, Camerota asked the congresswoman if, given that she had felt the need to apologize to Meadows, she regretted her comments. The congresswoman responded:
“Well, no. I apologized if it made him feel like I was calling him a racist. I was at that moment, as a person, as a mother, this was a teachable moment. For me, I used that moment to just say FYI, that was not the way to do it.”
Again, this isn’t hard. A woman of color felt Meadows’s action was racist and tried to explain it to him. That another woman of color disagreed in no way invalidates how Tlaib felt about it. A cool thing for Meadows to do would have been to listen. And then afterwards, he could apologize for all the times he sneered about sending Barack Obama back to Kenya or the fact that he holds a congressional seat partly because North Carolina Republicans jiggered district lines in a blatantly racist manner to dilute the impact of African-American voters. That, it seems, would be a more mature thing to do then simply whining about his hurt feelings.