Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib accused a conservative witness of being involved in a “conspiracy” and lying about quitting smoking during a Tuesday hearing on vaping.
The testy exchange occurred during a House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy hearing called “Don’t Vape” that discussed the potential link between vape and e-cigarette products and lung disease.
The Republican committee members invited Vicki Porter, a self-proclaimed longtime smoker who quit with vape products, to testify during the hearing. However, Tlaib took issue with Porter’s conservative politics and repeatedly accused her of lying to the subcommittee.
“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.
Tlaib then accused Porter of being involved in a “conspiracy” because she winked at one of the Republican members of the subcommittee. (RELATED: Bipartisan Duo Push To Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes)
“Okay, why were you winking at one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle? You winked,” Tlaib questioned.
“Because I know [Wisconsin Republican Rep.] Glenn Grothman,” Porter said. “He introduced me. He’s a friend of mine.”
Tlaib responded, “Oh, I understand. I didn’t know what the winking was. I thought maybe there was like a conspiracy thing going on. I didn’t know.”
Porter, seemingly bemused by the interaction, shot back, “You think there’s a conspiracy in this hearing, ma’am?”
Tlaib became angry with Porter’s response, then accused the witness of lying about quitting smoking with the use of vapes, declaring, “you’re still smoking!”
“I’m not smoking and I’m not lying under oath,” Porter replied incredulously.
The chairman presiding over the hearing banged his gavel to end the tense exchange and recognized Democratic Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly to continue questioning.