Rashida Tlaib (left) and Donald Trump (right) | Facebook, Alexander Gage, Wikimedia Commons
No one seems to be neutral when it comes to U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s fiery call to impeach President Donald Trump.
Hours after being sworn in on Wednesday, the Detroit Democrat said of Trump at a Moveon.org event, “We’re gonna impeach the motherfucker!”
After the remark went viral, the Republican president responded at a news conference on the government shutdown on Friday:
“I thought her comments were disgraceful. This is a person that I don’t know, I assume she’s new. I think she dishonored herself and I think she dishonored her family. Using language like that in front of her son and whoever else was there, I thought that was a great dishonor to her and to her family.”
Tlaib’s comment has been a top national story even during a busy news cycle in which Democrats took over the U.S. House and Trump threatened to keep the government closed for years until he gets money for a border wall.
There have been local stories, like from the Dearborn Press and Guide, “Rashida Tlaib blunt and profane in her talk about impeachment of Trump while her children charm with dance,” and even international articles, like from Al Jazeera, “New House Democrat Rashida Tlaib profanely vows to impeach Trump.”
In an interview with Mara MacDonald of WDIV-TV in Detroit, Tlaib once again defended the comment and declared, “I think President Trump has met his match.”
She also told WDIV: “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.”
Tlaib has defenders within the Democratic Party, including U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocosio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who have argued sexism is a factor in reactions to Tlaib’s cursing. Others like U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) have been critical of her tactics. Republicans like U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) naturally have pounced.
Many political columnists and analysts, including Michigan natives Matthew Dowd and Jonathan Chait, have criticized Tlaib’s tone. Others argued that Tlaib was on the mark, including Washington Post editorial writer Molly Roberts.
Here’s a roundup of reactions:
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocosio-Cortez (D-N.Y.):
Republican hypocrisy at its finest: saying that Trump admitting to sexual assault on tape is just “locker room talk,” but scandalizing themselves into faux-outrage when my sis says a curse word in a bar.
GOP lost entitlement to policing women’s behavior a long time ago.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 5, 2019
Joy Behar, host of ABC’s “The View”:
“I identify with her because I’m capable of saying something like that off the top of my head at a rally.”
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):
2/ Pelosi asks @JoyAnnReid, “Let me ask you this, if she (Rep. Rashida Tlaib) was a man,” would there be such a flap over her words? She adds, “What she said is less offensive than what President Trump said about John McCain.” #MSNBCTownHall
— Susan Page (@SusanPage) January 4, 2019
U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.):
“You know what happened in the last Congress, when Republicans were in the majority? You know what our freshman class did? They put a resolution together to actually work with one another, to not use foul language. And they got almost every single freshmen to sign on to it. This is the difference with this Congress, and it’s wrong.”
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.):
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) January 4, 2019
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn):
“She’s one member. We’re a large caucus.”
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), who’s a pastor:
“Jeez, no! Oh, Lord.”
Matthew Dowd, former GOP strategist, current independent and Detroit native:
“… As Martin Luther King Jr., who stood strong against injustice, said: ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’ And I would add vulgarity won’t drive out vulgarity, and bullying won’t drive out bullies. The best way for all of us to make America a more perfect union, and achieve justice and goodness is to act and speak in a manner that patterns the type of country and community we want. And that starts with the words we use for those we oppose. It is easy to respect those who agree with us; showing decency to those who are against us is much harder, and much more important.”
Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine columnist:
This is a gift to Trump. https://t.co/ewbINkN0lt
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) January 4, 2019
Molly Roberts, Washington Post editorial writer:
“Motherf—er,” in short, is about civility. ‘Shithole countries’ is about character. Democrats who conflate the two weaken themselves. They minimize the abuses of the Trump administration, and they invite the president to go on committing them without expecting anything more than an anemic reprimand. Democrats, he understands, won’t ever really fight back.”
Jill Filipovic, writer and feminist:
Re: Rashida Tlaib, are we mad that she (a) cursed or (b) said we should impeach the president? Because if it’s (a) I hope you also don’t support the pres, who has a very foul mouth, and if it’s (b) I hope you also don’t support the pres, who made “lock her up” a campaign chant.
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) January 5, 2019
Chris Cillizza, CNN analysts:
“… Here’s the thing: What Tlaib did on Thursday night might feel good for Democrats. It might make them feel as though they are regaining some of the fire and the fight they lost when Trump won in 2016. But it almost certainly is the wrong strategy if Democrats want to beat Trump in 2020.”
Matt Fuller, Huffington post reporter:
To be clear, I haven’t actually seen a reporter object to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s language. (Have you ever heard the shit we say?)
I *have* seen plenty of reporters criticize Tlaib for running away from questions. And I’ve seen plenty of tweets purposely confusing the two.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 4, 2019
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