Rep. Steve Cohen Erupts During Hearing After NC Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson Accuses Dems Of Using Black People As Pawns

"Stop using me, as a black man, as your push your agenda."
US Representative Steve Cohen
GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) angrily erupted during a congressional hearing Thursday after Republican North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who is African American, accused the Democratic Party of historically being on the wrong side of racial issues while using black people like himself as political pawns.

Speaking during a hearing about election integrity and voting rights, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) asked Robinson to specify which political party pushed most heavily for Civil Rights legislation, as well for the constitutional amendments that abolished slavery, naturalized former slaves, and granted citizens the right to vote regardless of race.

“That would be Republicans,” Robinson replied.

“And so, as we sit here today, and as we’re being accused by many of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle of wanting to somehow perpetuate the Jim Crow South, when in fact what we’re trying to do is perpetuate laws that you can believe in, that you’ve so eloquently discussed, do you see any merit in that whatsoever?” Roy asked.

“Absolutely not,” Robinson said before indicating he had something more to add. “You know, when you talk about that history, that history is clear, who stood on which side at every turn in history. It is clear. It’s not even in dispute. And it’s not in dispute now.”

“What we want is integrity,” Robinson continued. “We don’t want power, we want integrity. We want the right thing to be done. We want to encourage citizens to be responsible. We want to have the best election system in the world.”

Robinson went on to claim that third-world countries such as India have less dysfunctional elections than the United States. “It’s time that we modernize our election system in this country and stop playing all these silly games based on race.”

“And please, stop using me, as a black man, as your pawn — and yes, I said it — to push your agenda,” Robinson added, looking toward the Democrats on the dais. “I’m sick of it. It happened a long time ago in this country and I’m tired of seeing that.” Someone then cuts in to inform Robinson that his time has expired.



When Roy attempted to ask Cohen, who was serving as chairman of the hearing, if he could seek unanimous consent to enter a 2006 Senate report on voting rights into the record, the visibly irate Tennessee congressman loudly slammed his gavel repeatedly. In an attempt to get the next witness to speak, he went on to scream into the microphone, which was not turned on at first.

“Maybe in a few minutes, but not right now,” Cohen responded after Roy and another man pressed Cohen to insert the information into the record.

Cohen’s office did not immediately respond to The Daily Wire’s request for comment regarding why he was so upset.

Robinson, who is the Republican lieutenant governor of North Carolina, serves under Democratic Governor Roy Cooper. Because the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately in the state, the offices are sometimes held by members of different parties. Robinson is popular among North Carolina Republicans and had been exploring a run for U.S. Senate because of strong polling numbers. He decided against a run earlier this week.

Related: Rep. Chip Roy Introduces Bill Prohibiting U.S. Taxpayer Money From Funding Forced Abortions In China

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Rep. Steve Cohen Erupts During Hearing After NC Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson Accuses Dems Of Using Black People As Pawns