Cohen hearing derails after Rashida Tlaib kinda sorta calls Mark Meadows a racist

The most amazing clip from a day of memorable moments. “Someone,” she said, committed a racist act at today’s hearing by treating a black woman as a prop while questioning Michael Cohen about Trump’s racism. And everyone instantly knew what she was referring to.

How dare you, countered an indignant Mark Meadows. To which Tlaib replied: I wasn’t calling you a racist, merely noting a racist act. What?

At which point a still indignant Meadows asked Democratic chairman Elijah Cummings to vouch for his racial sensitivity. Which Cummings did, amazingly, putting the onus back on Tlaib to explain herself.

Which led her to a full retreat: I didn’t say you were guilty of a racist act, she told Meadows, merely that “someone” was, even though it was glaringly obvious that she was referring to Meadows’s introduction of Patton earlier. Meadows accepted that non-apology even though Tlaib wasn’t sorry and was lying transparently because it amounted to total victory anyway. One of the most outspoken leftists in the new freshman class had been forced to run away from an attack on GOP racism on national television, thanks partly to her own caucus’s leadership. (Watch the look on Cummings’s face as Tlaib rambles on.)

If you have the sense while watching this that you’re watching a teacher try to sort out a dispute at recess, there’s a reason. This is our government now.

A point worth noting, and one that’s been noted by others: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez smartly used her own questioning of Cohen not to speechify but to try to produce actual information from him. Which she did, getting him to admit at one point that Trump overvalued his assets for insurance purposes. Tlaib came to grandstand, AOC wanted to show she’s a serious legislator, which may be explained by the difference in their strength in their home districts. Ocasio-Cortez is a lock for reelection whereas Tlaib eked out a narrow victory in a primary field split multiple ways. She needs to impress the local partisans when she’s on TV. AOC doesn’t.