Tension over Donald Trump’s presidency exploded out into the open yet again this week with former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s public appearance before the House Oversight Committee. The hearing quickly devolved into a partisan flame war in which Republicans desperately wielded as many tools as possible — including a token black person who says Trump isn’t racist after all. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) slammed this move, decrying the patronizing of black Americans that Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) having Lynne Patton as his guest at the hearing represented.
‘Having endured the public comments of racism from the sitting president, being a black person, I can only imagine what is being said in private. To prop up one member of our entire race of black people and say that that nullifies that is totally insulting, and in this environment of expecting a president to be inclusive, to look at the administration speaks volumes.’
WOW — @RepLawrence *goes in* on Mark Meadows for citing one black Trump administration official to argue Trump can’t be racist.
“To prop up one member of our entire race of black people and say that that nullifies [racist statements] is insulting,” she says. pic.twitter.com/6HcVYKx1NT
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 27, 2019
Indeed — just in his public commentary, Trump has perpetuated the anti-immigrant and anti-minority rhetoric that has so often been used to target black Americans. He has sounded an alarm about the supposedly negatively transforming power of immigration, and he has sought to tamper down concerns from those minority community members who do make it to the U.S. about their treatment.
Trying to counter what we can all see and hear, Meadows brought Patton as his surprise guest to the Oversight Committee hearing at which Cohen appeared this Wednesday. She used to be friends with the now former lawyer, and went from working at the Eric Trump Foundation to working in the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Although not in the hearing itself, Patton explicitly claimed recently that President Trump is not a racist. During the Wednesday hearing, Meadows pointed to her status as the child of someone from the historically racism-jostled city Birmingham, Alabama, as evidence that she’d never work for someone who was racist.
In other words — the argument is that because one black person tolerates Trump and apparently gets at least the same treatment in return, we should take this single case as a rule instead of an exception, according to Meadows, who thereby engaged in a cliched and long-questionable at best argument against Trump’s racism. Cohen had explicitly called Trump a racist in his opening statement and countered Meadows by asserting that there are zero black “executives” at the Trump Organization.
Again, despite Meadows’ dismissal of concerns about Trump’s racism, on a very real level outside of his more salacious moments, the president has demonstrated his fondness for singling out minorities because of their race. He has claimed without any evidence that there are vast, unreported criminal networks among undocumented immigrants, defining this elusive underworld by the targets’ race, and more specifically, by the fact that they’re not white.
And Meadows wants us to no longer be concerned about that because he got one statement from one black woman saying Trump isn’t a racist? Seriously? Is he even aware of how outlandish his suggestion is? Does he care?
Featured Image via Screenshot from the video