WASHINGTON — Two lawmakers who clashed bitterly over race hugged it out Thursday on the House floor.
Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan embraced and chatted for almost a minute as the House took its final votes of the week. It was a striking sight after the pair fought during Michael Cohen’s hearing a day earlier. There, Meadows tried to rebut Cohen’s charge that President Donald Trump is a racist. Behind Meadows stood a longtime Trump family friend, Lynne Patton, who is black. Meadows said Patton would not work for anyone racist.
Tlaib suggested Meadows’ use of Patton as a “prop” was itself racist, but later said she was not accusing Meadows of being a racist.
On Thursday, Meadows approached Tlaib on the House floor and offered a hand. She stood, put a hand over her heart as she spoke to him, and then threw an arm around his shoulders as the two embraced.
“She said she didn’t mean it yesterday, so there was no need to apologize,” Meadows said later Thursday.
The upheaval came at the end of a daylong hearing in which Cohen testified that, among other things, Trump said black people are “too stupid” to vote for him.
Meadows, one of Trump’s staunchest supporters in Congress, said he’s never heard the president say anything racist. At one point, Patton, who now works at the Department of Housing and Urban Development stood behind him. Meadows said she would not work for anyone racist, but she’d work for Trump.
Tlaib, the last member to speak, made her remarks about Meadows’ move and the two got into a shouting match. Meadows said he has family members who are African-American.
Chairman Elijah Cummings got them to settle down and urged Tlaib to clarify that she was not calling Meadows a racist.