Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) grew irate on Wednesday after a House colleague accused him of racism, demanding her remark be stricken from the record. But in 2012, he repeatedly made racist comments about sending President Barack Obama “home to Kenya.”
During Wednesday’s scuffle with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) in the middle of Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House oversight committee, Meadows lashed out at Tlaib for saying it was racist to hold up a black Trump administration official as a prop to show that the president isn’t racist.
Earlier during the testimony of President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Meadows had introduced Lynne Patton, whom Trump appointed as the New York–New Jersey regional administrator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to make his case against Cohen’s assertions that Trump is racist.
“I asked Lynne to come today in her personal capacity to actually shed some light,” Meadows said as Patton stood behind him. “You made some very demeaning comments about the president that Ms. Patton doesn’t agree with. In fact, it has to do with your claim of racism. She says as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Alabama, that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was a racist.”
Tlaib wasn’t having it.
“That someone would actually use a prop ― a black woman, in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself,” Tlaib said before being interrupted by Meadows’ demand that her comment be redacted from the hearing’s record.
It was clearly a sore spot for Meadows, who is still known for repeatedly pushing the racist “birther” conspiracy that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.
In the lead-up to the Obama’s re-election, Meadows said at a tea party rally that “2012 is the time we’re going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is.”
He made a nearly identical remark at another rally days later.
He also said that year he would push for an investigation into where Obama was born, even though documents proved he was born in Hawaii.
In 2015, he stated that he doesn’t remember those remarks and fell short of actually walking them back.
“Obviously I distance myself from that .... That doesn’t apply to anything I’m doing now,” he told The Washington Post, though his actions today don’t make that claim very convincing.