President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday that his former boss is a “racist” who told him that African-Americans were too “stupid” to vote for him.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a member of the committee, invited Lynne Patton, an African-American member of the Trump administration, to the hearing to refute that characterization.
“You made some very demeaning comments that Mrs. Patton doesn’t agree with,” Meadows, the head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told Cohen as Patton stood behind him.
“She says, as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Ala., that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was a racist,” Meadows continued. “How do you reconcile the two of those?”
“Neither should I as the son of a Holocaust survivor,” Cohen shot back.
“I’ve talked to the president over 300 times,” Meadows said. “I’ve not heard one time a racist comment out of his mouth in private.”
Patton, a regional administrator in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was formerly an executive with the Eric Trump Foundation.
“Ask Miss Patton how many people who are black executives at the Trump Organization," Cohen told Meadows. "And the answer is zero.”
Near the end of the hearing, Rep. Tlaib, D-Mich., criticized Meadows for bringing Patton to the hearing, and accused him of using a black woman "as a prop."
"Just because someone has a person of color — a black person — working for them does not mean that they aren't racist," Tlaib said, addressing the chairman.
Meadows erupted, demanding Cummings strike Tlaib's comments from the record.
"My nieces and nephews are people of color," Meadows said. "To ask someone who is a personal friend of the Trump family, who has worked for him ... that she's coming in to be a prop? It's racist to suggest that."
"That was not my intention, I do apologize if that's what it sounded like," Tlaib said. "I was not referring to you as a racist."
In his opening statement to the committee, Cohen recounted a conversation he had had with Trump while they were driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago.
“He commented that only black people could live that way,” Cohen recalled. “And he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid. And yet I continued to work for him.”
Cohen also said Trump once asked him to “name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a ‘s***hole.’”
“This was when Barack Obama was president of the United States,” Cohen added.
In an Instagram post published before the hearing, Patton accused Cohen of leveling “unsubstantiated claims.”
“I am sad that Michael has elected to leverage his own personal illegal activities into nothing more than political theater this week with the sole partisan purpose to embarrass a sitting President with unfounded personal or professional gossip,” Patton wrote. “I am sad that Michael would turn his back on a man to whom he has repeatedly said he owes everything in the hope of a reduced prison sentence.”
Read more from Yahoo News: