Lynne Patton, a Trump administration official with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), shot back at Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on “Fox & Friends” Thursday for referring to her as a “prop” used by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) during Michael Cohen’s testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
She started off the interview by saying that she “was not there to represent an entire race of people” but instead there “to represent one man”: President Donald Trump. Patton, who is an African-American woman, then cited the president’s successes for minority communities:
“I was not there to represent an entire race of people. I was there to represent one man. One man who — nevermind having the lowest unemployment rates for blacks, minorities, hispanics, women — but also gave $32 million more than the last administration to historically black colleges and universities.”
Patton also brought up the president’s “largest federal disaster grant” to Puerto Rico, the “most comprehensive prison reform bill in three decades,” as well as his new “urban council” that “will funnel $100 billion of capital into urban and rural communities through Opportunity Zones.” She also claimed that the president did not “see color, race, creed, [or] religion” and that he “only sees success and failure.”
The unemployment rate among African Americans fell down to 5.9 percent in May of 2018 — its lowest level since 1972. Unemployment for Hispanic Americans fell to a record low of 4.4 percent in October and December of 2018, while the women unemployment rate closed in on the 2.7 percent record from May 1953 by falling to 3.7 percent in April 2018.
Patton hit back at Tlaib’s calling her a “prop” during the Wednesday hearing:
“What I’d like to ask the congresswoman from Michigan is: why does she take the word of a self-confessed perjuror and criminally convicted white man over a black female who is highly educated, rose up through the ranks of one of the most competitive companies in real estate, spoke before 25 million people at the Republican National Convention, and now works in one of the most historic administrations in history?”
She then delivered her gut punch to Tlaib, saying, “That is more racist than being put up there as a ‘prop'” and adding that she was “proud” to be working for President Trump.
When asked if she accepted Tlaib’s apology, Patton noted that the congresswomen “didn’t apologize to me” and called Tlaib’s comments “laughable.”
Watch her interview below:
Lynn Patton, Trumps' HUD undersecretary of housing, totally destroys Michael Cohens' assertion Trump is a racist! https://t.co/ay5XyZHXTs
— Daniel Myer (@promodan) February 28, 2019
Patton’s interview comes as a response to comments made by Tlaib during Cohen’s Wednesday testimony to the House Oversight Committee, during which she called out Meadows for bringing Patton to the hearing, saying that it “does not mean” someone is not racist “just because someone has a person of color” as an employee:
“Just because someone has a person of color, a black person working for them does not mean they aren’t racist. And it is insensitive that some would even say — the fact that some would actually use a prop, a black woman in this chamber in this committee is alone racist in itself.”
Meadows jumped at Tlaib’s comments immediately, calling on House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to scrub Tlaib’s words from the hearing record, citing his and Cummings’s “personal relationship that’s not based on color.”
Watch the heated exchange below:
Rashida Tlaib told GOP Rep. Meadows that using a Black Trump employee as a ‘prop’ to show Trump isn’t racist was a racist act in itself — he responded by demanding her words be struck from the record, nearly in tears pic.twitter.com/QapXEYc6dN
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 27, 2019
Cummings responded to Meadows by saying he did not “think Ms. Tlaib intended to cause [Meadows]” any “kind of pain” and asked Tlaib to clarify what she said about “one of [his] best friends.”
Tlaib replied that she did not intend to call Meadows a racist and apologized to the North Carolina congressman while adding that she was “pretty direct” and that “if [she] wanted to say that, [she] would have.”
Meadows responded by saying:
“There’s nothing more personal to me than my relationship – my nieces and nephews are people of color. Not many people know that. You know that, Mr. Chairman. And 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, 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.”
Wednesday’s explosive hearing was the second of three for President Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” and the only one open to the public. Cohen, who is going to prison in May for lying to Congress, alleged in the hearing that the president os a “racist,” a “cheat,” and a “conman” as well as alleging he committed criminal acts while in office.