MSNBC contributor Maya Wiley said on Wednesday that seeing Housing and Urban Department (HUD) official Lynne Patton, a former Trump organization employee, being “paraded out” by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) to show that President Donald Trump is not a racist was “the most offensive thing” she has ever seen in her life.
“I have to start, as a black woman, that was the most offensive thing I have ever seen in my life,” Wiley said. “And to take one person, parade her physically in front of cameras and say she works for Trump, therefore he can’t [be racist] even though we have a public record during the campaign of several incidents that have called into question his racial attitudes… but one woman who works for him who can be physically paraded out in front of cameras… that was the most irresponsible moment I have seen on TV in a long time.”
Wiley then added: “I can’t curse. It’s not HBO.”
While introducing Patton, Meadows told Michael Cohen, Trump’s disgraced former personal lawyer, that Patton, as a daughter of man who was born in Birmingham, Alabama, would never “work for an individual who was racist.”
“You made some very demeaning comments about the president that Ms. Patton doesn’t agree with,” Meadows said to Cohen. “In fact, it has to do with your claim of racism. She says that as a daughter of a man born in Birmingham, Alabama, that there is no way that she would work for an individual who was racist. How do you reconcile the two of those?”
Cohen responded, before asserting that Trump is a racist because he does not have any black executives: “As neither should I, as the son of a Holocaust survivor.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) later blasted Meadows for what she claimed was a “racist act.”
“Just to make a note, Mr. Chairman, just because someone has a person of color, a black people working for them, does not mean they aren’t racist,” Tlaib said. “And it is even insensitive, some would even say the fact that someone would even use a prop, a black woman in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself.”
After Meadows told Tlaib that “it’s racist to suggest” that Meadows was using Patton as a “prop,” Tlaib said she was not calling Meadows “a racist.” Tlaib, though, insisted that Meadows still committed “a racist act.”
Patton later told PBS that the the day was not about the color of her skin before ripping Tlaib on Instagram for playing “a race card.”
“Today was about two people who know the president equally and who disagree,” Patton told the outlet.
Patton also defended Trump, saying Trump “sees successes and failures” instead of racial or gender identities.
“The president sees successes and failures,” Patton reportedly said. “He doesn’t see color, sex race, creed, religion, so that’s what makes things uncomfortable for other people. It could a country, a business, a television show, a restaurant, you’re either successful or you’re not.”
NEW: I just interviewed Lynne Patton, the Black HUD official who stood next to Rep. Mark Meadows to say that President Trump is not racist. She told me: “To me, today was not about the color of my skin. Today was about two people who know the president equally and who disagree.” pic.twitter.com/TJXfHhWXlI
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) February 27, 2019