Mark Meadows finally stood up for his Congressional BFF Elijah Cummings after Donald Trump's relentless and vile attacks. It took only three short days. Christ rose from the dead and stopped for an overly complicated coffee drink in the same amount of time. You can't rush perfection, though, and yesterday Meadows delivered a perfectly shameless statement.

This is not an expression of support for a supposed friend. It's a not-so-veiled sleazy request for Cummings to lay off the criminal president so maybe -- no promises -- Trump will stop flinging racist shit at the congressman and his district like some racist monkey with access to Twitter. We don't need Mark Meadows to confirm for us that Elijah Cummings isn't a racist. We know he's not because he's a 68-year-old black man who's gone his entire life without ever once punching a white person in the face. It also means little for Meadows to "vouch" for Cummings when in the same fetid breath he claims President Nazi Lover isn't racist. Meadows also laughingly suggests that Trump and Cummings both "love America." Maybe Meadows's command of geography is poor, so we'll remind him that Baltimore is in America. Trump called the city "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess." That was Saturday. If he loves America, he should leave the travel writing to Rick Steves.

When Michael Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee in February, Meadows trotted out a black woman as Defense Exhibit A in the case against Donald Trump's racism. This was gross and offensive, and when our girl Rep. Rashida Tlaib pointed out how racist his actions were, he started crying like a common Jimmy Swaggart. You see it's really mean to call someone racist, which is exactly what Trump did because he's a proud graduate of the Pee-Wee Herman School of Rhetoric. Trump calling Cummings a "racist" is baseless ad hominem. It's not in the same league as observing that Trump regularly disparages people of color with the most dehumanizing language imaginable. Only someone with no morals themselves could ever morally equate Donald Trump with Elijah Cummings.

Yr. SER shook his head when Cummings defended Meadows when he was accused of racism. Meadows was just your average non-racist guy who likes to have black women stand behind him during congressional hearings as emotional support sisters. Meadows angrily shut down Tlaib by listing all the black people he knew personally and boasting of his close friendship with Cummings. We knew that Meadows was just using Cummings as his own Defense Exhibit A. God forbid Meadows actually listen to a woman who didn't agree with him. He might've learned something.

Tlaib is a freshman House member who, unlike Meadows, has not worked with Cummings for years. However, she didn't hesitate to defend him against Trump. She didn't have to spend a weekend picking a side. She was born on the side opposed to Trump.

We don't know if Tlaib considers Cummings a friend. We do know she's a true ally. Meadows is neither. It reminds us of some prescient words from Malcolm X:

"We have this in common: We have a common oppressor, a common exploiter, and a common discriminator. But once we all realize that we have this common enemy, then we unite on the basis of what we have in common .And what we have foremost in common is that enemy —— the white man. He's an enemy to all of us. I know some of you all think that some of them aren't enemies. Time will tell."

We obviously don't think all white men are our enemies. Some white men are Stephen Sondheim. But men like Mark Meadows will always reveal themselves as the scorpions on our backs. Our tenuous friendships with them are dependent on sacrificing our dignity and swallowing our anger. We exist solely to make people like Meadows feel better about themselves. No matter how well we perform in that capacity, we are disposable. They will certainly never take our side against another white person, no matter how off-the-charts repulsive they are.

Cummings is easily a more forgiving man than we are. Maybe he never expected much from Meadows. But if part of him hoped for more from a self-proclaimed friend, time has revealed the truth. It always will.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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