Rashida Tlaib’s not swallowing her words.
The newly-minted lawmaker (D-MI) took her oath of office at the House of Representatives on Thursday. That night, she unleashed a firestorm, after declaring at a post-swearing-in celebration that she was looking to forward to impeaching “the motherf**cker” — by whom she meant President Donald Trump.
Video of the remarks went viral Friday. It showed Tlaib recounting comments to her young son after her election victory, in which she said she told the boy that “bullies don’t win,” adding “we’re going to go in there, and we’re going to impeach the motherf**ker.”
That sentiment, widely shared by her constituents in Detroit, Michigan and by many people across the country, drew less notice than did the colorful language she used to express it.
Conservative commentators on Fox News, in particular, have called out Tlaib — a Palestinian-American and staunch opponent of the president’s policies towards Muslims and immigrants, among other issues — for her salty language.
Newly-sworn Senator Mitch Romney (R-UT) issued a rebuke on Twitter, saying “elected leaders should elevate, not degrade, our public discourse.”
Rep. Tlaib took the politics of Washington deeper down the drain. Elected leaders should elevate, not degrade, our public discourse.
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) January 5, 2019
But a fellow congressional lawmaker, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) scoffed on Twitter over “Republican hypocrisy at its finest.”
I got your back @RashidaTlaib – the Bronx and Detroit ride together 💪🏽💜
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 5, 2019
In an interview with a local Detroit television station on January 4, Tlaib stood by the remarks, cuss words included.
“I think President Trump has met his match,” she told WDIV television. “I stand by impeaching the president of the United States,” Tlaib said. “I ran on that.”
“It’s probably exactly how my grandmother, if she was alive, would say it.”
"I am very passionate and I grew up in an incredibly beautiful urban community, the city of Detroit, born and raised. We say colorful things in interesting ways," said Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib in an exclusive interview with Local 4. https://t.co/ZJ8NruaXQi
— Local 4 WDIV Detroit (@Local4News) January 5, 2019
Tlaib added: “Obviously, I am a member of Congress and things that I say are elevated on a national level, and I understand that very clearly. I am very passionate, and I grew up in an incredibly beautiful, urban community — the city of Detroit — born and raised. We say colorful things in interesting ways, but I tell you, the president of the United States is my focus. The residents back home are my focus.”
There was jubilation when Tlaib, a 42-year old attorney, was sworn in this week as one of Congress’ first two Muslim women.
But there was some consternation, including among some Democrats after she used profanity to talk about her plan to be be part of the effort to impeach Trump.
The president on Friday said Tlaib had “dishonored herself” with her remarks.
“I thought her comments were disgraceful,” Trump said during a White House press conference.
“This is a person I don’t know, I assume she’s new. I think she dishonored herself and dishonored her family using language like that in front of her son and whoever else was there.”
Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dismissed the controversy during a town hall forum late Friday as a tempest in a teapot. “Let me just ask you this, if she were a man would they be making a fuss like that?” she said at the event held by MSNBC.
And Pelosi, who this week reclaimed the speaker’s gavel, noted that there was a certain irony in the criticism coming from a president who has spoken about “sh*thole countries” and grabbing women by the “p*ssy.”
“I don’t like that language, I wouldn’t use that language, but I wouldn’t establish any language standards for my colleagues,” Pelosi told MSNBC.
“But I don’t think it’s anything worse than what the president has said.”