Democratic leaders were quick to come to the defense of freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib on Monday after she got blasted not only by Republicans, but President Trump as well, for comments she made about Jews moving into Palestine after the Holocaust.
“Republicans’ desperate attempts to smear @RepRashida & misrepresent her comments are outrageous,” tweeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “President @realDonaldTrump & House GOP should apologize to Rep. Tlaib & the American people for their gross misrepresentations.”
In an email to the press, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said: “If you read Rep. Tlaib’s comments, it is clear that President Trump and Congressional Republicans are taking them out of context. They must stop, and they owe her an apology.”
Tlaib, a Palestinian American who represents districts in Detroit, got criticized over the weekend by House Republicans. Those lashing out at Tlaib included Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo) — for comments she made on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.”
On the podcast on Friday, Tlaib said: “It was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity. Their existence, in many ways, had been wiped out. I mean, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time.”
She added, “I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that [safe haven], in many ways.”
President Trump condemned her comments in a tweet Monday.
“Democrat Rep. Tlaib is being slammed for her horrible and highly insensitive statement on the Holocaust,” Trump said. “She obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?”
But a number of Democrats rallied behind Tlaib after Trump fired off his tweet. Her supporters included Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Tlaib and Omar are the only two Muslim women in Congress.
“This is another transparent attempt to sow division b/t minority communities and distract from your own criminal behavior by smearing a Muslim woman,” Omar tweeted, referencing her own GOP criticism. “No one should fall for it this time.”
Both Tlaib and Omar have been accused of saying things that have been deemed anti-Semitic — in some cases, by people on both sides of the aisle. But Democrats continue to claim that the comments are being taken out of context.
“Mr. President: Stop dividing the American people up by their religion, their race or their country of origin–and stop your ugly attacks against Muslim women in Congress,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders. “You are taking Rep. @RashidaTlaib’s comments out of context and should apologize.”