Dem. Rep. Rashida Tlaib on Meadows Attack: "It Was Important For Me To Speak Truth To Power"


Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) defended her attack on Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) at Wednesday's Congressional hearing with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen in an interview on CNN's 'New Day' Thursday morning.

Tlaib accused Meadows of participating in a "racist act" at the hearing leading to a quarrel that ended with the Congresswoman amending her allegation.

Transcript, via CNN:

CAMEROTA: And so, back to that point yesterday, which is that as you point out, there were people at home that felt that that was tone deaf and insensitive of Congressman Mark Meadows. You certainly were not alone in that feeling.

And so why did you feel the need to apologize to him?

TLAIB: You know, I just want folks to know this is probably the most diverse class. This is the largest incoming class since Watergate. And, yes, we look differently. And many of us didn't run to be first of anything, but I think we ran because we wanted Congress to not only look differently but also speak differently and feel differently.

And, for me, again, as a person and a member of that committee, I did not feel that I should be silent about the fact that how that made me feel as an equal member to Mr. Meadows and many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

At that moment, it was important for me to speak truth to power. It was important for me to speak out against that action that I thought was very hurtful and very painful for many of us sitting in that committee room.

CAMEROTA: And so, do you regret apologizing to Congressman Meadows?

TLAIB: Well, no. I apologized if it made him feel like I was calling him a racist. I was -- I was, at that moment, as a person, as a mother -- this was a teachable moment. For me, I used that moment to say just FYI, that was not the way to do it.

And it was not at all calling Mr. Meadows a racist. I really -- if I wanted to -- everybody knows this -- I'm pretty direct -- I would have done that. But that's not what was my intention.

It was my intention to educate -- to share what I was feeling at that moment just like when he was feeling at that moment of what his reaction was to the comments from Mr. Cohen. I'm really, you know, wanted to focus to discuss race in this country in a way that can be really thoughtful and constructive, not in a way that's very dramatic.

And again, no disrespect to her, but just to having her stand there saying nothing and saying look, he's not a racist. Again, I was still taken aback and still to this day, was like that was not the way to do it.

CAMEROTA: I mean, look, I think this is a teachable moment and I think that we are all having these sensitive -- you know, what used to be taboo conversations about race. And that's why I'm interested in whether or not you can separate a racist statement or a racist act from the person.

And, case in point, in 2012, Congressman Mark Meadows engaged in the birtherism talk where he doubted that President Obama was born here. Let me just remind our viewers of what he said back then.


MEADOWS, THEN-CANDIDATE FOR HOUSE RACE NC-11: Well, it's good to be here with you today. I thank you so much for allowing me just a few minutes to talk with you and share a few things that -- you know, it's interesting when the more we find out, the more we realize how wrong the direction we're going.

And so what we're going to do is take back our country. Two-thousand- twelve is the time that we're going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is -- we're going to do it.


CAMEROTA: Does seeing that change how you feel about him?

TLAIB: Look, I'm there because I think people of color have been really missing in Congress. There are so many incredible, incredible leadership. John Lewis, Elijah Cummings, Barbara Lee, and so many people of color right now in Congress that are using this opportunity of being in that space and teaching our colleagues I think the right way of talking about race in this country.

And so, just to go back, I think Congressman Meadows understood where I was coming from. He knew what my intention was at the end and that's why he decided to take, you know, I think his objections back.

And again, as somebody sitting in that room, I didn't feel like it was something to be silent about. I think I needed to express my frustration and also the hurt that I think a lot of us felt at the moment that that action of having her stand up like that in a committee hearing.

CAMEROTA: But just to be clear, you still, today, feel that he is not racist.

TLAIB: Look, I feel like the act was, and that's up to the American people to decide whether or not he is.

CAMEROTA: Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, we really appreciate you having this conversation with us on NEW DAY. Thank you very much.

(via Breitbart Video)

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