Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib sparks racial dispute with colleague during Michael Cohen testimony

Tlaib says she was not calling Rep. Mark Meadows racist

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WASHINGTON – While addressing President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen on Wednesday during his testimony before Congress, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib got into verbal exchange with North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows.

Tlaib was objecting to the appearance of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development official Lynne Patton in the audience.

"Just to make a note, Mr. Chairman, just because someone has a person of color, a black person, working for them, does not mean they aren't racist," Tlaib, a Democrat, said. "It is insensitive that someone would actually use a prop, a black woman, in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself."

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Meadows, a Republican who had invited Patton to stand as he defended Trump against Cohen saying Trump is a racist, interrupted Tlaib to ask that her words be stricken from the record.

"Mr. Chairman, the rules are clear," Meadows said.

Tlaib spoke over Meadows and continued with her statement.

Meadows again asked that her words be taken down.

"Mr. Chairman, I ask that her words, when she's referring to an individual member of this body, be taken down and stricken from the record," Meadows said. "I'm sure she didn't intend to do this, but if anyone knows my record as it relates -- it should be you, Mr. Chairman."

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows (WDIV)

Chairman Elijah Cummings asked Tlaib if she would like to rephrase her comments.

Tlaib reread her comment and said, "If a colleague is thinking that's what I'm saying -- I'm just saying that's what I believe to have happened. As a person of color in this committee, that's how I felt at that moment and I wanted to express that. But I am not calling the gentleman, Mr. Meadows, a racist for doing so. I'm saying that, in itself, it is a racist act."

Cummings silenced Meadows as he tried to speak again. He asked Tlaib if she was intending to call Meadows a racist.

"No, Mr. Chairman, I do not call Mr. Meadows a racist," Tlaib said. "I am trying, as a person of color, Mr. Chairman, to express myself and how I felt at that moment. For the record, that was my intention."

Meadows said his nieces and nephews are people of color and defended himself, saying he didn't ask anyone to come in as a prop.

Cummings called Meadows one of his best friends and said he could feel his pain.

"I don't think Ms. Tlaib intended to call you that," Cummings said.

Chairman Elijah Cummings (WDIV)

Tlaib said that was not her intention and apologized if that's how it sounded.

"As everyone knows in this chamber, I'm pretty direct, so if I wanted to say that, I would have, but that's not what I said," Tlaib said.

"I thank the gentlewoman for her comments," Meadows said. "I thank the chairman for working to clarify this and I appreciate the chairman intervening."

You can watch the full exchange in the video above.

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