Candace Owens' presence turned a serious inquiry into a farce
The chairman, Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., told her not to "refer disparagingly to a member of the committee."
"Sure, even though I was called 'despicable,'" retorted Owens, who also said Nadler had an "anti-black bias."
The "despicable" remark that offended Owens came from Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I.: "I regret that there are some on this panel that have tried to hijack this hearing and desecrate the lives lost to the hate crimes and violence of white supremacists … I think that is despicable."
Attempted hijacking was a fair description of what Republicans did Tuesday. They also invited to testify Morton Klein of the far-right Zionist Organization of America, who used the pulpit to denounce the "vicious anti-Semitic remarks" of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.. He said verses from the Koran inspire "constant murder of Jews in Israel." Klein was invited to testify even though he recently wrote of "evil murders by your filthy Arab Islamist despicable brethren."
Owens was more flamboyant. She declared that "I'm adamantly against victimhood," then repeatedly portrayed herself as a victim. (Antifa "threw water at me" and "threw eggs at me.") She decried "name calling" -- while calling Democrats "disgusting," "cowardly" and "unbelievably dishonest."
Even if Republicans wanted a provocateur, couldn't they have found somebody else?
Whatever their motives, Republicans frequently sought validation Tuesday from Owens, who has spoken about the need to overcome "white guilt."
Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, for example, asked Owens to describe the "hate you experienced" for being a conservative. She obliged.
And Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., asked whether her pro-life views "trigger people" (answer: yes). He coaxed: "Tell me a little about how the president has helped the black community." Answer: "He's getting us off our feet," and conservatives are "so supportive."
"Thank God we have you," Buck remarked.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.
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