The eldest of 14 children, Rashida Tlaib was born to Muslim parents on July 24, 1976 in Detroit, Michigan. Her mother hailed from a region near the West Bank city of Ramallah, and her father was born in an Israeli suburb outside of Jerusalem.
Tlaib earned a BA in Political Science/Government from Wayne State University in 1998, and a JD from Thomas Cooley Law School in 2004. She subsequently found employment as a social worker before taking jobs at the International Institute of Metro Detroit, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, and the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice — where a majority of her co-workers were, by Tlaib’s description, “pretty much socialists” whom she “love[d].”
Tlaib entered the world of politics in 2004 as an intern to Michigan State Representative Steve Tobocman.
In October 2006, Tlaib was a guest columnist who contributed an op-ed piece titled “Bills Must Stop Deportations for Minor Offenses” to The Final Call, a newspaper and website headed by Nation Of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. In her article, Tlaib lamented that immigrants were in constant fear of being arbitrarily deported for what she described as small violations such as paperwork errors.
In 2008 Tlaib was the Arab-American outreach coordinator for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in Michigan. Later that year, Tlaib herself was elected, as a Democrat, to the 12th District seat in the Michigan House of Representatives, where she would serve from 2009-15. On March 11, 2010, the Detroit News reported that Tlaib’s father, Harbi Elabed, was accusing his daughter of having lied “big-time to get elected” during her 2008 campaign. According to Elabed, Tlaib had falsely claimed on an election affidavit to be a resident of the 12th District (in southwest Detroit) – a requirement for anyone seeking that office – when in fact she lived in the city of Dearborn, which was not a part of the District. Tlaib denied her father’s allegations.
As a member of the Michigan House, Tlaib was a strong advocate for abortion rights. Years later, she would recall having said at one event hosted by the Center for Reproductive Rights: “Yo, yo, yo, I don’t know what you’re so freakin’ obsessed with what I decide to do with my body, maybe you shouldn’t even have sex with me, or with you, or with any woman.”
In 2010, Tlaib’s first re-election campaign received support from the People For the American Way Action Fund.
In August 2016, Tlaib was one of 14 protesters whom police forcibly removed from a Donald Trump campaign speech in Detroit, when she heckled and shouted at Trump from the audience.
Tlaib is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which in 2018 endorsed her campaign to fill Michigan’s 13th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House; Democrat John Conyers had vacated that seat when he resigned amid scandal in December 2017. At a February 2018 DSA meeting in Detroit, Tlaib was asked if she planned to openly “run as a socialist.” She replied: “Yeah, um it’s, it’s — we got to win.” Tlaib then lamented that “people have tainted that word,” and said she saw it as her duty to proudly “explain [that] the labor movement was founded on socialism.”
During the 2018 campaign, Tlaib proposed amending the Civil Rights Act to allow lawsuits based on “disparate impact” rather than requiring plaintiffs to prove that they were victims of deliberate discrimination.
On August 7, 2018, Tlaib won the Democratic primary for her congressional race. On November 6, 2018, she won the general election with 84.6% of the vote.
Soon after being sworn into office, Tlaib joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Over the years, Tlaib has cultivated noteworthy ties to a number of Islamist organizations. In 2009 she received a Community Service Award from the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). In March 2010 she praised CAIR for its “invaluable” and “vital” “advocacy efforts” on behalf of “those who don’t have the resources to defend themselves.” In her 2010 congressional re-election campaign, Tlaib received strong support from the Arab American Political Action Committee. In 2013-14, she received numerous financial donations from individuals affiliated with CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Students Association (MSA), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). In 2014 she spoke at a CAIR banquet in Los Angeles, and at the annual joint conference of the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Islamic Circle of North America. And in a January 2015 tweet, Tlaib noted approvingly that the head of Islamic Relief USA – a branch of Islamic Relief Worldwide, which had recently been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates – had come to Detroit to discuss “water relief from Gaza to Detroit.”
In an October 2015 tweet, Tlaib linked to an article in The Nation lauding Black Lives Matter activists in Chicago for supporting “a Palestinian woman threatened with deportation.” The woman in question was Rasmea Odeh, a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist who had played a central role in a deadly 1969 terrorist bombing in Jerusalem, and had committed felonious immigration fraud in the U.S. years later.
In a November 2017 tweet, Tlaib criticized U.S. Senator Kamala Harris for having met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss cooperation between California and Israel on water management, agriculture, and cyber-security issues. “I am one of your supporters & donors,” Tlaib told Harris. “Hoping you are still part of the resistance to racism against ALL people. This picture [of Netanyahu] says otherwise.”
In December 2017, Tlaib shared a Facebook post in which Muslim activist Linda Sarsour had expressed support for Ahed Tamimi, a 17-year-old Palestinian girl whom Israeli authorities had recently incarcerated for assaulting an IDF soldier and proclaiming that “everyone must” attack Israeli Jews by means of “stabbings, martyrdom-seeking operations [i.e. suicide bombings], throwing stones.” “Absolutely inhumane to target a young girl for fighting against racist policies,” wrote Tlaib. “Her voice should be lifted.”
In December 2017 as well, Tlaib was a plaintiff in a lawsuit that attorney Shereef Akeel filed against U.S. President Donald Trump and two members of his cabinet. Condemning “the Trump Administration’s regular and vulgar attacks against Islam and Muslims,” and its “multipronged attempt to demonize Islam and marginalize Muslims in the United States,” the suit challenged an executive order by which Trump was seeking to temporarily suspend all travel visas to the United States for people hailing from six Muslim-majority countries that were hotbeds of Islamic terrorism. Other plaintiffs in the case included such notables as Linda Sarsour, Nihad Awad, and Dawud Walid.
In February 2018 Tlaib joined a Facebook group called the “Palestinian American Congress,” which commonly demonizes Jews. The group’s Palestinian-American founder, Maher Abdel-qader: (a) served as a donor, fundraiser, and event organizer for Tlaib’s 2018 congressional campaign; (b) has accused Israeli settlers of training children “to terrorize Palestinian civilians”; and (c) once used his Facebook page to share a video claiming that “satanic” Jews secretly control the media, have no historical claim to Israel, and grossly exaggerated the death tolls associated with the Holocaust.
In a March 28, 2021 social media post, Abdel-qader praised Tlaib for having been a keynote speaker at a “great successful fundraiser” that had recently been held, via Zoom, for Sam Rasoul, a Palestinian American seeking election as Virginia’s next lieutenant governor. Just three weeks earlier, on March 7, Abdel-qader had used his Instagram page to share an image comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. Titled “Israel’s vision for a Palestinian state,” the image included a drawing of a wall topped with barbed wire and outfitted with watchtowers bearing machine-gun nests. The drawing also showed a man wearing a yarmulke saying in a speech bubble: “It looks like a modern version of the Warsaw ghetto.”
By August 2018, Tlaib and her congressional campaign had raised — for that election cycle alone — more than $30,000 from Islamists affiliated with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Muslim Students Association (MSA), the Islamic Society of North America, and the Muslim American Society (MAS).
Prior to the August 7, 2018 Democratic primary, Tlaib was unequivocal in voicing support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That position was a key factor that enabled her to win the support of the influential organization J Street. But immediately after her victory in the primary, Tlaib completely reversed her position. When asked in an interview to describe a proper “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she replied: “One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work…. This whole idea of a two-state solution, it doesn’t work.”
Upon winning the Democratic primary on August 7, Tlaib draped herself in a Palestinian flag while celebrating with her supporters. In her victory speech, she promised to “fight back against every racist and oppressive structure that needs to be dismantled.” When she was subsequently asked by Great Britain’s Channel 4 News if she planned to vote against U.S. military aid to Israel, Tlaib responded: “Absolutely, if it has something to do with inequality and not access to people having justice…. If you’re going to be a country that discriminates on somebody solely based on their faith, solely based on their skin color … I will be using my position in Congress so that no country, not one, should be able to get aid from the U.S. when they still promote that kind of injustice….”
When Tlaib won her congressional election on November 6, 2018, CAIR founder and CEO Nihad Awad congratulated her on her “historic victory of becoming the first Muslim and Palestinian woman in the U.S. Congress.”
In December 2018, Tlaib become just the second U.S. lawmaker — the first was Ilhan Omar — to publicly voice support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. “I personally support the BDS movement,” Tlaib said in an interview with the news website The Intercept. “I want us to see that segregation and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region.”
On January 3, 2019 — her first official day as a new Member of Congress, which was now in Democratic control for the first time in eight years — Tlaib told a raucous crowd of supporters at a MoveOn.org reception near Capitol Hill that Donald Trump’s days as President were numbered: “We’re going to go in there, and we’re going to impeach the motherfu**er.” When she was sworn into office, Tlaib wore a red thobe (a traditional Palestinian gown) and took her oath by placing her hand on a copy of the Koran. That same day, a member of Tlaib’s entourage used a Post-it bearing the name “Palestine” along with an arrow pointing to Israel on a wall map in Tlaib’s office, to indicate that this should be Israel’s new name.
A notable attendee at Tlaib’s swearing-in ceremony was the executive director and co-founder of Al-Awda, Abbas Hamideh, who has repeatedly: (a) stated his belief that “Israel does not have a right to exist”; (b) equated Zionism with Nazism and the genocidal ideology of ISIS; and (c) voiced support for Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, whom he regards as “the most honorable Arab-Muslim leader of our lifetime.” Moreover, Hamideh in 2015 had publicly lamented the death of “the legendary Hezbollah martyr” Samir Kuntar, who years earlier had murdered a 31-year-old Israeli Jew named Danny Haran as the latter’s four-year-old daughter, Einat, watched in horror, before proceeding to kill the girl as well by smashing her skull against a rock with his rifle. Following Tlaib’s swearing-in ceremony, Hamideh posted to his Twitter account a photo of himself and Tlaib holding up a large painting of the newly elected congresswoman. He also attended a private celebratory dinner with Tlaib, her family, and a number of her friends and activists.
During the first week of January 2019, Tlaib used her Twitter account to condemn her Congressional colleagues who backed a bill designed to allow local, state, and federal agencies to avoid doing business with companies or organizations that supported the Boycott-Divestment-Sanction (or BDS) movement against Israel. “They forgot what country they represent,” wrote Tlaib. “This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality,” Tlaib tweeted. “Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away.”
In March 2019, Tlaib posed for a photograph with Palestinian activist Nader Jalajel, who in February 2018 had mourned the death of Hamas terrorist Ahmed Jarrar, the leader of a January 2018 shooting attack that killed a rabbi in Israel. On his Facebook page, Jalajel wrote “Allah Yerhamo,” or “May God have mercy on him,” above a photo of a rifle-brandishing Jarrar, who, by Jalajel’s telling, had died “after a long battle resisting the brutal Israeli occupation and defending his people and his land.” In August 2019, Jalajel articulated similar condolences after IDF personnel killed four heavily armed Hamas terrorists who had crossed the border from Gaza into Israel. “LONG LIVE THE RESISTANCE!!!” Jalajel wrote.
On April 8, 2019, Tlaib spoke at an American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) event in Washington, where she stated that she typically felt “more Palestinian” while doing her work in Congress, than she felt anywhere else. Moreover, AMP’s New Jersey chapter posted a photograph of Tlaib outside of her Capitol Hill congressional office with some of its members during the AMP event. One of those members was Joe Catron, a longtime anti-Israel activist has openly supported Islamic terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Catron was also the U.S. coordinator of the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Samidoun, an arm of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
After Israel shot some Hamas-affiliated Palestinian militants who were attempting to sabotage the border fence between Gaza and Israel, Gazan terrorists fired hundreds of rockets into Israel (killing several civilians), which in turn prompted Israel to launch airstrikes against terrorist strongholds in Gaza. Taking exception to a New York Times headline that read: “Gaza Militants Fire 250 Rockets, and Israel Responds with Airstrikes,” Tlaib tweeted: “When will the world stop dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free? Headlines like this & framing it in this way just feeds into the continued lack of responsibility on Israel who unjustly oppress & target Palestinian children and families. #FreePalestine.”
During a May 2019 appearance on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” Tlaib credited the Palestinian people with having helped Jews establish a homeland after the Holocaust, only to have their (Palestinians’) benevolence met with ingratitude and oppression by Israelis: “There’s always kind of a calming feeling, I tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports. And, 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. And, I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways, but they did it in a way that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them.”
In July 2019, Tlaib and fellow Democrat John Lewis co-sponsored a House Resolution supporting the BDS movement and comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany. Introduced by Ilhan Omar, the Resolution called on House members to oppose “unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad,” a reference to resolutions that had been passed in several states to prohibit the granting of government contracts to companies that backed BDS.
In July 2019 as well, Tlaib was one of just 17 House members who voted against House Resolution 246, a bill designed to oppose boycotts targeting Israel. In an impassioned speech which she delivered just prior to the vote, Tlaib referenced the yearning of her Palestinian grandmother “to experience equality, human dignity and freedom.” She then added: “I stand before you as the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, parents who experienced being stripped of their human rights – the right to freedom of travel, equal treatment. I cannot stand by and watch this attack on our freedom of speech and the right to boycott the racist policies of the government and the State of Israel.” Moreover, Tlaib emphasized the noble history of past boycotts, saying: “What was the Boston Tea Party but a boycott? Where would we be now without the boycotts led by the civil rights activists in the 1950s and ’60s?” And she went so far as to evoke the memory of Nazi Germany to help make her case against Israel: “Americans boycotted Nazi Germany in response to the dehumanization, imprisonment and genocide of the Jewish people.”
In August 2019, Tlaib and fellow congresswoman Ilhan Omar shunned a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel and announced that they would instead schedule an independent trip – sponsored by the notoriously anti-Israel nongovernmental organization Miftah – to the Jewish state. But Israel’s government – in accordance with an Israeli law barring the issuance of visas to any foreigners who, like Omar and Tlaib, advocate boycotts targeting Israel – stated that the two congresswomen would not be permitted to enter the country. Shortly thereafter, the Israeli government — in response to a plea in writing where Tlaib asked for permission to visit her elderly grandmother (whom she had not seen in 13 years) in the West Bank village of Beit-Ur al-Fauqa — softened its stance and agreed to allow the congresswoman to enter the West Bank. In her letter, Tlaib said: “I would like to request admittance to Israel in order to visit my relatives, and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s and lives in Beit Ur al-Fouqa. This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.” But after receiving permission to enter the country, Tlaib promptly rejected the offer, tweeting: “When I won [election to Congress], it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions. I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my [grandmother] to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies. Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”
Tlaib had consistently portrayed Beit-Ur al-Fauqa as a village beset by horrible living conditions due to Israeli oppression, but that portrayal was false. As the publication Israel Haymon reported in August 2019:
“[T]he World Bank said in 2014 that the village is one of the richest in the region. The poverty rate in the village stood at 7.4 % in 2014, compared to the overall rate of 21% in the Palestinian Authority. Only a handful of villages have a lower poverty rate in the PA and employment in the village is also among the lowest in the PA. But perhaps the most important statistic is this: The rate of social mobility in Beit-Ur al-Fauqa is among the highest in the PA.
“According to a 2017 PA report on the quality of life of Palestinians, the village has 230 households. The report says that 215 structures are considered private residences and four of them are actually single-family homes, attesting to their wealth. More than 115 of the households are in apartments that have 5 bedrooms or more, and 65 of the households have four bedrooms. And of course, all the structures are privately owned. According to the report, almost every home has satellite TV, and most have LCD screens in their living rooms. Almost everyone in the village has access to the internet and a mobile phone. Half of the families own a car.”
Moreover, members of Tlaib’s own family who lived in Beit-Ur al-Fauqa were among the wealthiest people in the village, as evidenced by the photos that they themselves posted to their own Facebook accounts. For example, Raja Tlaib shared pictures of himself wearing an expensive suit, posing next to his new Mercedes, and working out in a state-of-the-art gym. Anas Tlaib, for his part, showed photos of his own Mercedes. Mawaid Tlaib uploaded pictures of his vacations in Italy and other places. Samach Tlaib displayed photos of his BMW automobile. And Niaf Tlaib, owner of a Corvette convertible, uploaded pictures of himself posing next to his new, three-story home which was under construction.
Tlaib had a noteworthy reaction to the August 2019 honor killing of a 21-year-old Palestinian Muslim woman named Isra Gharib, in the town of Beit Sahour (near Bethlehem). An aspiring make-up artist with a large following on Instagram, Gharib posted a video of herself and her boyfriend together at a local coffee shop, in violation of a fundamentalist Islamic custom prohibiting a girl and boy from being seen together in public before they are officially engaged. To punish Gharib for her transgression, her brothers and a brother-in-law beat her so severely that she was forced to jump out of a second-or third-story window to escape them, suffering a spinal cord injury in the process. While the woman was subsequently being treated in a hospital, her father, her brothers, and a brother-in-law came to her bedside to administer yet another beating. The family then removed Gharib from the hospital, and one of her brothers promptly killed her by means of repeated blows to the head. Tlaib, for her part, chose not to condemn the barbaric practice of honor killings. Instead, she tweeted out an article by a Palestinian blogger that blamed Gharib’s death on such things as patriarchalism, corruption, colonialism, and the Israeli “occupation.” “Isra’s death illustrates an ever-present toxic masculinity and control over women’s bodies and lives,” wrote Tlaib.
In December 2019, Tlaib’s congressional re-election campaign received a $1,000 donation from Salah Sarsour, a Hamas sympathizer and a national board member of American Muslims for Palestine. Sarsour on his Facebook page had previously praised the radical Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a longtime advocate of terrorism and genocide against Israeli Jews. Sarsour also used his Facebook page to mourn the death of Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the late Muslim Brotherhood leader who characterized the Holocaust as a “myth” and described Israel as a “cancer to root out.”
In late November 2020, Tlaib and fellow Democrat congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Betty McCollum spoke at an American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) conference that featured appearances by several people with ties to Islamist terrorism:
On November 30, 2020, Tlaib scrubbed, from her Twitter page, her recent retweet of an anti-Semitic slogan often used by terrorist groups that favor Israel’s destruction: “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free.” (This means that Palestinians should control all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which is precisely the territory where Israel is located.)
During a January 19, 2021 interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, Tlaib asserted that Israel, by having failed to include the roughly 4.5 million Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in its coronavirus vaccination program, had once again shown itself to be a “racist state” and an “apartheid state.” Said the congresswoman:
“I mean, I think it’s really important to understand Israel is a racist state and that they would deny Palestinians like my grandmother access to a vaccine, that they don’t believe that she’s an equal human being that deserves to live, deserves to be able to be protected by [sic] this global pandemic. And it’s really hard to watch as this apartheid state continues to deny their own neighbors … [by means of] these oppressive policies, these racist policies that deny them access to public health, deny them access to freedom of travel, deny them access to economic opportunities.
“It is so critically important that we call it out. Our country [the U.S.] continues to enable that country [Israel] and continues to enable Netanyahu, who continues to spew anti-Arab rhetoric that allows violence towards Palestinians to continue in a way that is so inhumane and doesn’t follow international human rights…. I hope our country sees what the Palestinians have been trying to tell us for a very long time. That Israel has no intention of ever being caring or allow equality or freedom for them as their neighbors. And you can see it with the distribution of vaccine. You also saw it with the testing and tracing. My family told me they didn’t have access to testing…. They had no access at all for any preventive measures, any medication…. [Israel has] the power to distribute that vaccine to the Palestinian people … and it doesn’t — if anything, it just reiterates what the Palestinian people and even human rights groups have been telling us, is that this [Israel] is an apartheid state.”
On May 5, 2021, Tlaib retweeted an article that cited Palestinian media sources and the anti-Israel organization B’Tselem claiming that Israeli “settlers” had set massive, destructive fires on Palestinian lands. Tlaib herself wrote: “Stealing Palestinian homes and burning their lands. The actions of an apartheid state. We cannot stand by and watch this happen. @SecBlinken [Secretary of State Antony Blinken], billions of U.S. taxpayers dollars support Netanyahu’s government and this racist violence. We must condemn this swiftly.” It was subsequently learned that the fires had actually been started by Palestinian arsonists.
When Israel launched a military bombing attack targeting infrastructure strongholds of Gaza-based Hamas terrorists who had recently fired nearly 2,000 Iranian-made missiles into the Jewish state, Tlaib, wearing a keffiyeh, went to the House of Representatives’ floor to condemn “Israel’s apartheid government” and to call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish state. She lamented that “[o]ur party leaders have spoken forcefully against BDS, calling its proponents anti-Semitic, despite the same tactics being critical to ending the South African apartheid mere decades ago.” The congresswoman complained further: “What we are telling Palestinians fighting apartheid is the same thing being told to my black neighbors and Americans throughout that are fighting against police brutality here: There is no form of acceptable resistance to state violence. As long as the message from Washington is that our military support for Israel is unconditional, Netanyahu’s extremism right-wing government will continue to expand settlements, continue to demolish homes, and continue to make the prospects for peace impossible.”
On May 19, 2021, Tlaib supported Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s introduction of a measure to block America from selling Israel a $735 million precision-guided weapons kit capable of converting unguided or “dumb” bombs into precision-guided munitions. Also leading the effort to block the weapons sale were Reps. Mark Pocan and Ilhan Omar. At the time, Israel was engaged in a military conflict with Hamas, whose Gaza-based terrorist operatives had recently fired more than 3,000 rockets toward Israeli population centers, prompting Israel to respond by using precision-guided bombs to target Hamas weaponry and infrastructure.
In an April 2018 interview, Tlaib recalled how, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she feared for the safety of herself and her family. “I was probably in my second year in law school when 9/11 happened,” said the congresswoman. “And I was really terrified of what was going to happen to my husband, who was only a green card holder at the time. I immediately called my brothers and told them to be very careful who you hang out with, telling my sisters, you know, just be real careful out there, and being really afraid of my fellow Americans.”
In a September 2019 Twitter post, Tlaib wrote: “We have to make the tough, courageous changes that completely transform a political and economic system that is now built for corporations (and profits), not people. Choosing the status quo means doing nothing and giving up. We need a political revolution.”
In a February 2019 House committee session, Tlaib accused Republican congressman Mark Meadows of committing a “racist act” in presenting Housing and Urban Development official Lynne Patton, a black woman, as a refutation of former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s claim that President Trump was a “racist.” “[J]ust because someone has a person of color, a black people working for them, does not mean they aren’t racist,” said Tlaib. “And it is even insensitive, some would even say the fact that someone would even use a prop, a black woman in this chamber, in this committee, is alone racist in itself.”
While Detroit police chief James Craig in October 2019 gave Tlaib a tour of the Real Time Crime Center wherein department analysts used facial recognition technology to identify criminal suspects, Tlaib told him: “Analysts need to be African-Americans, not people that are not. It’s true, I think non-African-Americans think African-Americans all look the same!” Craig, who is black, replied: “I trust people who are trained, regardless of race, regardless of gender.” After Craig showed Tlaib how his analysts examined the software’s results before making determinations, the congresswoman said: “See if you can get some of our [taxpayers’] money back until they fix it.” Craig, in turn, said “No.” When a Detroit News reporter subsequently asked Tlaib if she was “saying white people are not qualified to –,” the congresswoman interrupted him and said: “No, I think there’s actually been studies out that it’s hard for, you know, like African-Americans would identify African-Americans, similar, Latino same thing.” When asked if African-Americans, by that same reasoning, should not be permitted to identify white people, Tlaib said “Look it up” and walked away.
On July 8, 2020, Tlaib endorsed fellow Democrat congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s recent call for “dismantling the whole system of oppression” in the United States. “My sister @IlhanMN said it best: We must begin with dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter. “Pass it on.”
On March 18, 2021, Tlaib tweeted: “Fuck white supremacy.” The following day, she complained about some criticism she had received vis-a-vis her use of profanity: “People are policing my words while completely failing to fight against white supremacy. This really speaks volumes on where we are and the work we have to do.”
In July 2019, Tlaib called for a federal minimum wage of $20 per hour for all workers, including waiters, busboys, and other employees who generally depended on tips for most of their income. “Think about that for one minute,” said Tlaib. “People cannot live on those kind of wages, and I can’t allow people to be living off tips, you know, relying on tips for wages. It’s just not enough to support our families…. It should be $20 an hour — $18 to $20 an hour at this point…. They say all of this is going to raise the cost, but I can tell you, milk has gone up, eggs have gone up, everything has gone up. The cost of a lot of things that we need has gone up already.”
In November 2019, the House Ethics Committee (HEC) announced that it was investigating Tlaib 0ver internal messages which she had sent in 2018 asking her congressional campaign for money to cover her personal expenses, which is a criminal act. Tlaib’s case was referred to HEC by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which alleged: “Rep. Tlaib’s campaign committee, Rashida Tlaib for Congress, reported campaign disbursements that may not be legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes. If Rep. Tlaib converted campaign funds from Rashida Tlaib for Congress to personal use, or if Rep. Tlaib’s campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes, then Rep. Tlaib may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.” According to Fox News’ Gregg Re: “Texts and emails released by the Ethics Committee show Tlaib frantically contacting members of her staff for financial help. The OCE also attached scans of checks made out to Tlaib from her campaign, totaling thousands of dollars.”
According to The Daily Signal:
“The alleged violations stem from $17,500 that her campaign paid her, apparently to cover personal expenses, after she was elected to Congress.
“Text messages and emails between Tlaib and her campaign staff show that throughout her campaign she repeatedly asked her campaign for money to cover personal expenses like ‘car maintenance, child care, and other necessities.’ At one point, Tlaib asked her campaign to give her $2,000 every two weeks. Between May 7 and Nov. 16, 2018, it did so. Then, on Dec. 1, 2018, it paid her $15,500. In total, Tlaib’s campaign gave her $45,000 over seven months.
“Federal campaign finance law … prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal use. The law, including the regulations promulgated by the Federal Election Commission, defines ‘personal use’ very broadly. Personal use includes any ‘commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign duties.’ That plainly includes car maintenance, child care, and ‘other necessities.’ …
“While candidates may take a salary from their campaigns, there are very strict limits on that. Among the litany of restrictions is this one: The salary can only be paid for work performed before the election. The salary has to end the day the candidate is either elected or withdraws from the race and is no longer a candidate.
“Tlaib’s eligibility for a salary paid from her campaign funds ended on Nov. 6, 2018, when she was elected to the House of Representatives. Yet her campaign continued to pay her through the end of December. She collected $17,500 after the election.”
After President Trump proclaimed March 15, 2020 as a national day of prayer in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) fears that were plaguing the country, Tlaib retweeted a Twitter message by anti-gun activist teenager David Hogg that read: “Don’t let this administration address COVID-19 like our national gun violence epidemic. Fuck a National day of prayer, we need immediate comprehensive action.”
In the aftermath of a highly publicized May 25, 2020 killing of a black criminal suspect by a white police officer in Minneapolis, numerous American cities were overrun by weeks of protests and violent riots led by Black Lives Matter and Antifa. One of the cities where the riots were most destructive was Portland, Oregon. Following a 50-day period during which Portland’s mayor refused to take any serious measures to quell the mayhem, President Trump announced that he was sending federal troops to that city in an effort to restore order. In response to the president’s decision, Tlaib tweeted on July 20: “They’ll have to arrest me first if they think they’re going to illegally lay their hands on my residents” (in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District).
In July 2020, Tlaib and fellow congresswoman Ayanna Pressley partnered with the Movement for Black Lives — a coalition closely tied to the Black Lives Matter movement — in promoting the BREATHE Act, a bill that called for:
In an August 2020 photo essay in which Vanity Fair magazine “celebrat[ed] the founders of Black Lives Matter [BLM] … and more on the forefront of change,” Tlaib lauded the massive wave of BLM-and-Antifa-led protests and riots that had swept the country since George Floyd’s death in late May. Said the congresswoman: “It just gives more credibility to why I ran. It gives more credibility [to] why I fight to [lift] people out of poverty, why I am saying enough with structural racism, and ending mass incarceration, and ending the injustices that we see in our school system. When I see this movement on the street—that’s where transformative change really starts and it’s hitting us right here in the halls of Congress. It’s been powerful to watch it happen.”
In an online “vote-a-thon” co-hosted in December 2020 by the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Georgia Muslim Voter Project, Tlaib claimed that Muslim voters in Georgia had been given an opportunity from “Allah” to help elect Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Osoff to the U.S. Senate in their upcoming runoff elections, and to thereby give Democrats a majority in the upper chamber of Congress. “I hope that you realize just the opportunity here that Allah has given us to show the power of Muslims in Georgia,” Tlaib stated. “I want people to be like, oh my God, I didn’t even know Muslims are in Georgia… Exactly! Because we’re going to show them in droves of numbers… I want to, mash’allah [what Allah has willed] be able to say, ‘Look at the voting in these precincts and guess what? It was the Muslim vote that delivered Georgia.’” Other noteworthy figures who spoke at the CAIR event included Ilhan Omar and Linda Sarsour.
Tlaib voiced outrage after an April 11, 2021 incident where a white female police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota accidentally shot and killed a young black man named Daunte Wright, who was resisting arrest and attempting to flee. The congresswoman tweeted: “It wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist.” “Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence,” she added. “I am done with those who condone government funded murder.” Tlaib also wrote: “No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.” In addition, she retweeted a tweet which, mocking the notion that Wright’s shooting was “accidental,” stated: “You spelled murder wrong again.”
In mid-May 2021, Tlaib was one of 35 House Democrats (led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) who wrote a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Tae Johnson, demanding changes to immigration policies allegedly rooted in America’s “discriminatory legal system.” According to the 35 legislators, an interim enforcement memo issued by ICE: (a) did “not adequately protect the liberty interests of asylum seekers,” and (b) unjustifiably presumed that illegal migrants who had been convicted of aggravated felonies should necessarily be regarded as “border security and enforcement and removal priorit[ies].” “This blanket presumption will effectively mean detaining an untold number of people who have fled persecution,” the lawmakers wrote.
The letter further claimed that the “definition of an aggravated felony” was nothing more than a “relic of the racist War on Drugs.” “‘Aggravated felonies’ as a category have been designed to ensure that people have as few rights as possible to fight detention and deportation,” wrote Tlaib and her colleagues. “Moreover, we are concerned that the memorandum only requires ICE officers have a ‘good faith belief’ that someone has an aggravated felony conviction even while acknowledging that such a determination is ‘a complex question.’” The lawmakers also claimed that the ICE memo “invites racial profiling” by designating migrants convicted of participating in gang activities as “public safety enforcement and removal priorit[ies].” “We are in a moment of racial reckoning in this country, with communities across the country calling for an end to mass incarceration and racist policing,” the letter said. “It is time to end the carceral approach to immigration, which relies on these same flawed systems.”
In a July 6, 2021 conversation with Julie Mao from Just Futures Law, Tlaib declared that the United States “must eliminate funding for our CBP, ICE, and their parent organization DHS” (Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security). “Time after time,” said the congresswoman, “we have seen it as advocates on the ground, as human services agents on the ground, to continue to see over and over again to see that these agencies are inept.” Tlaib added that while these agencies ought to be “humanely guiding migrants through our immigration system,” they instead “terrorize migrant communities located within our communities.”