February 28, 2019
Only House Democrats would be desperate enough to schedule a gotcha hearing on the same day as the president's North Korean summit. But if distraction was the goal, the liberal media certainly did their part. Headlines that should have been full of the White House's diplomatic coup were overwhelmed by the rant-fest of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. For the new majority, it went exactly according to plan. Except for one thing -- even voters couldn't help but notice that when it comes to U.S. priorities, some liberals will always put political vendettas over national security.
It will take days to dissect all of the inane moments of Wednesday's circus, but there were a few that managed to transcend the entire sad spectacle. Like a lot of people close to the president, Congressman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) is tired of Cohen's racist smearing of Trump. "I've talked to the president over 300 times," Meadows fired back. I've not heard one time a racist comment out of his mouth in private. So, how do you reconcile it? Do you have proof of those conversations?" Pointing to Lynne Patton, a former employee of the Trump Organization, Mark insisted, "She says that a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Alabama, that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist."
Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) took offense, arguing that it was "insulting" to "prop up one member of our entire race of black people" and suggest that it "nullifies [racism]." But the real fireworks began when Freshman Democrat Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) turned her fire on Meadows implying he was just as prejudiced as the president for bringing Patton. "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 someone would actually use a prop, a black woman, in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself."
Mark was visibly upset by the accusation and asked Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to strike it from the record. "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," he said to Cummings. In an emotional moment, Meadows pointed out, "My nieces and nephews are people of color... Not many people know that. [Lynne Patton] is a family member... she loves this family. She came in because she felt like the President was getting falsely accused." To suggest, he went on, that "she's coming in to be a prop? [That's] racist!"
Cummings asked Tlaib to rephrase her comments. But it's what happened next that shocked the room. "If there's anyone who is sensitive with regard to race, it's me," Cummings pointed out. "A son of former sharecroppers that were basically slaves. So I get it." But, turning to Mark, he went on, "You're one of my best friends. That shocks a lot of people." But throughout this exchange, he said, "I could see and feel your pain. I feel it." It was a poignant moment in an otherwise nasty day of mud-slinging partisanship. It proved that even in this sorry state of divided politics, there are still glimpses of civility.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the Democratic party is as open to common courtesy as Cummings. Too many liberals aren't content debating policy -- they want to make it personal. Back when I was in the Louisiana legislature, the two parties may not have seen eye to eye, but we still had good relationships. We could argue on the House floor and then leave for lunch together afterward. There was a mutual respect that transcended policies and politics. For the sake of our country, I hope more people are inspired by Congressmen Meadows and Cummings -- and the unlikely relationships that will do more to heal our country than days of spiteful hearings ever will.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.