Trump torches Tlaib comments as ‘disgraceful,’ Ocasio-Cortez decries ‘faux outrage’

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:

Rashida Tlaib

“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:

Tlaib’s defenders

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocosio-Cortez (D-N.Y.):

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.):

Tlaib’s detractors

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.):

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.”

Media reactions

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:

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:

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:

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Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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