Housing and Urban Development staffer Lynne Patton was brought in by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) during Michael Cohen's hearing to stand as a token of President Donald Trump's opinion on race. HUD Secretary Ben Carson warned her that it wouldn't go well, but she did it anyway.
"I knew she was going to appear, knew she wanted to do that. I left that to her discretion," Carson told Austin Statesman reporter Asher Price. "I mentioned to her a lot of people would have negative things to say about the things she said. I wanted to make sure she understood that."
"I didn’t really watch it. I was too busy. But I did hear about it," Carson continued, when asked about people of color on the committee alleging it was a racist move. "I was much more concerned about the fact someone who has questionable reliability, suddenly has become a beacon of all that’s true. I just found that kind of a farce, the whole thing."
"I knew she was going to appear, knew she wanted to do that. I left that to her discretion," @RealBenCarson told me… https://t.co/ooZca4AjN4— Asher Price (@Asher Price) 1551984535.0
.@realbencarson: "I didn’t really watch it. I was too busy. But I did hear about it. I was much more concerned abou… https://t.co/VbKS5WX2He— Asher Price (@Asher Price) 1551984848.0
The incident with Patton came after Cohen claimed that Trump has a long history of racism and racist statements. According to his opening statement, Trump called African-Americans "too stupid" to vote for him. He also asked Cohen if he knew of any country with a Black leader that wasn't a "sh*thole," while President Barack Obama was in office.
In his questioning, Meadows claimed that Patton’s appointment to HUD was proof that Trump wasn't a racist.
“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,” Meadows said.
“And neither should I, as the son of a Holocaust survivor,” Cohen responded.
“But Mr. Cohen, I guess what I’m saying is, I’ve talked to the president over 300 times, I’ve not heard a racist comment out of his mouth in private,” Meadows said.
Meadows was then denounced by the people of color on the panel, saying that tokenizing Patton was an act of racism. The white Congressman proceeded to have a meltdown at the accusation he had done something racist, noting he had Black relatives.