Rep. Tlaib to committee witness: 'Why were you winking at one of my colleagues...?'

A House Oversight subcommittee held a hearing on vaping today. Republicans invited a witness named Vicki Porter who testified that vaping had helped her quit smoking after many years of trying and failing:

Porter shared that switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes nine years ago likely saved her life.

“Quitting smoking is very, very, very hard. Nobody tells you that. … Vaping is a health miracle to me because without it I would probably be on my way to a lung cancer diagnosis,” Porter told members of Congress.

She said flavors are important to keep adult smokers using e-cigarettes instead of backsliding to tobacco. She said she has never been healthier since switching to e-cigarettes.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib decided to question Porter but the questioning quickly turned odd. “Ms. Porter, I was reading because I want to know more about you and your beliefs, and I respect that we all have different beliefs, but you call yourself a converted conservative and reformed Marxist. Are you a conspiracy theorist?” Tlaib asked.

“I think my politics are entirely irrelevant to this hearing,” Porter replied.

“Oh, okay. Why were you winking at one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle? You winked,” Tlaib said.

“Because I know Glenn Grothman,” Porter replied, referring to the Republican congressman from Wisconsin.

“Oh, that’s what it…So the winking…Did he…” Tlaib fumbled.

“He introduced me. He’s a friend of mine,” Porter clarified.

“Okay, understand,” Tlaib replied. She continued, “I didn’t know what the winking was. Cause I thought maybe there was something, like a conspiracy thing going on there. I didn’t know.”

“You think there’s a conspiracy in this hearing ma’am?” Porter asked.

“No, no. I actually think people are speaking truth here…” Tlaib said.

“May I address the truth?” Porter asked.

“Well the truth for you is very different from the majority of people in this room who do believe that children are being targeted by vaping,” Tlaib said.

Porter replied, “The truth for me is I quit smoking with these cigarettes and so did 8 million other people.”

“You’re still smoking, ma’am. You’re still smoking,” Tlaib said.

“I’m not smoking and I’m not lying under oath,” Porter said.

Here’s the full, weird exchange. I guess Tlaib was trying to make Porter look bad but her effort backfired. Tlaib herself looks unprofessional and a bit unhinged, albeit not for the first time in her brief career:

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Jazz Shaw 8:31 AM on March 18, 2023