WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib is having a good week.
The freshman Detroit Democrat has been one of the most outspoken members of the U.S. House to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. This week, her push was validated as droves of other Democrats joined the push for an impeachment inquiry and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced official impeachment proceedings.
Tlaib, who made national news her first week in office for saying of Trump, “We’re going to impeach the motherfucker,” this week announced new campaign merchandise — T-shirts that say “IMPEACH THE MF.”
Tlaib spoke to the Michigan Advance and another news outlet outside of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday about next steps on impeachment, what her constituents think of the president and whether she’s feeling vindicated.
The following are excerpts from the interview:
Q: What do you think about impeachment prospects in the Senate?
Tlaib: We’ve passed a lot of incredibly important legislation out of the House and [sent] to the Senate. Look, that allows the organizations and the movement folks on the ground asking for gun reform and asking for us to do something to help our Dreamers that are neighbors. And what [do] we do, we don’t say, ‘Oh, we don’t have the votes there.’ We send what we think is the right thing to do over to the Senate.
Q: Do you think it’s valuable for the House to act on impeachment, regardless?
It’s important for us to take that leap and that step, or the Senate is not going to consider it unless we do it. And some senators have asked us, ‘Send it over, allow the pressure to be on us to hold him accountable.’
Q: Do you think it could help Democrats going into 2020?
Tlaib: You know, I’m not a political strategist. I mean, these are the same people that told me I shouldn’t run for office, and I did anyways. And I won. I truly believe that at this moment, we can’t make decisions based on what this political strategy would look like.
Q: How does it feel now that Speaker Pelosi is supporting impeachment?
Tlaib: I understood my district — we birth movements, and we birth movements around labor rights [and] civil rights. … So, of course, seeing the speaker finally say, ‘OK, the incident with Ukraine and what’s happening with the whistleblower complaint and them trying to hide all of that is a national security issue.’ Of course, I’m pleased, but her role is very different from mine. I have my district, and one of the best [pieces of] advice she ever gave me was focus on your district and represent your district. And that’s what I did. And she obviously represents a very diverse array of districts as our leader in the House.
Q: What timeline would you like to see on impeachment?
Tlaib: There’s a sense of urgency for my district. Look, I have the third-poorest congressional district, a very diverse district, but it has seen the impacts of corporate greed running the decisions being made by the federal government. … I think they’re proud that they were at the forefront. And they, I think, in many ways, feel very vindicated … because they’ve been saying, ‘Whoa, this guy hasn’t divested in his businesses.’ And my district doesn’t like corruption; we never have.
Q: Do you feel vindicated?
Tlaib: Oh, God, no. For me, honestly, I’m a person that worked in nonprofit organizations. When I’m trying to combat poverty, it’s these little pieces of wins. … The people power outside of the House, the Congress, is what moved this —- not me. It’s the folks outside of the House. Every transformative change we’ve ever seen in our country didn’t happen because it started in the United States Congress or the halls of the White House. It started because people demanded it. And that’s what I’m more excited about is that people are now finally demanding it across the country, not just in my district.