Comments Republican Rep. Mark Meadows made in 2012 – that then-President Barack Obama should be sent “back home to Kenya or wherever” – are resurfacing this week following a tense conversation over race at a public House hearing Wednesday.
Asked about the 2012 video showing the then congressional candidate at an event calling for an investigation into President Barack Obama’s citizenship, Meadows said he’s “addressed that a dozen times.”
“And candidly it was not the way that I should’ve answered the questions,” Meadows said on Capitol Hill on Thursday. “Certainly is not something that I support from a standpoint of any racial overtones.”
He added, “I can tell you that anyone who knows me knows that there is not a racial bone in my body.”
Liberal commentators resurfaced the video after a contentious dialogue at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday between Meadows and Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who said it was a racist act that the North Carolina congressman would use a black Trump administration official as a “prop.”
In 2012, Meadows was asked at an event, “If the President is not a natural-born citizen, then he does not control the military. And so the question I have, if you’re sent to Congress, will you pursue some kind of an investigation to find out whether or not this guy is really a citizen and entitled to (that) authority?”
“Yes,” Meadows responded. “If we do our job from a grassroots standpoint, we won’t have to worry about it. We’ll send (Obama) back home to Kenya or wherever it is.”
When The Washington Post asked Meadows in 2015 if he would push for such an investigation as a member of the House Oversight committee, Meadows said he would not.
“I don’t even remember that quote,” said Meadows then. “Obviously I distance myself from that.”
“That doesn’t apply to anything I’m doing now,” he added.
On Wednesday, Meadows introduced Lynne Patton, a black woman who works at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, at the hearing with Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, to counter the witness’ claim that Trump is racist.
“Just because someone has a person of color, a black person working for them, does not mean they aren’t racist,” said Tlaib. “And it is insensitive that some would even say – the fact that someone would actually use a prop, a black woman in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself.”
Meadows then asked the committee Chairman Elijah Cummings to strike her remarks from the record. Cummings, who is African American and said at one point that Meadows was “one of his best friends,” asked Tlaib if she would like to clarify her remarks.
Tlaib later said that it was a “racist act” but that she was not calling Meadows a racist.
Meadows then responded that his nieces and nephews are “people of color.”
“To indicate that I asked someone who is a personal friend of the Trump family, who has worked for him, who knows this particular individual, that she’s coming in to be a prop, it’s racist to suggest that I ask her to come in here for that reason,” he added.