Donald Trump accuses Rashida Tlaib of ‘tremendous hatred of Israel’
President Trump complained Monday that Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan is being let off too lightly after the first-term Muslim congresswoman’s confusing remarks about the Holocaust, which Republicans say is evidence of anti-Semitism.
Mr. Trump called the comments “horrible and highly insensitive,” saying they showed “tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people.”
“Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?” the president tweeted.
Ms. Tlaib, a Palestinian by heritage, was talking about Israel-Palestinian relations in an interview released Friday by the “Skullduggery podcast,” when she said she got a “calming feeling” when thinking how Palestinians provided a safe haven to Jews after the Holocaust.
“There’s kind of a calming feeling I always 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,” the freshman Democrat said.
“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, 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, right, and it was forced on them. And so when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that, why couldn’t we do it in a better way?” she continued.
When pressed about how her one-state policy was different than that of Hamas, Ms. Tlaib stressed that her position came from “love, for equality” rather than violence.
“I want a safe haven for Jews,” she said. “Who doesn’t want to be safe? I am humbled by the fact that it was my ancestors that had to suffer for that to happen, but I will not turn my back and allow others to hijack it and say that it’s some extremist approach because they’re coming from a place of whatever it is of division, inequality.”
House Republican leaders zeroed-in Ms. Tlaib’s use of the phrase “calming feeling” in relation to any aspect of the Holocaust.
Minority Whip Steve Scalise and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer to hold Ms. Tlaib accountable.
“There is no justification for the twisted and disgusting comments made by Rashida Tlaib just days after the annual Day of Holocaust Remembrance. More than six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust; there is nothing ‘calming’ about that fact,” Mr. Scalise said in a statement.
Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Hoyer have not yet commented on the growing backlash.
Ms. Tlaib says her words are being misconstrued to incite hatred.
Her office released a statement Sunday accusing the GOP of using the Holocaust to score political points.
“Again, this behavior by a bankrupt Republican leadership is dangerous and only increases hateful rhetoric from those who want to cause harm to oppressed people,” the statement read. “The Republican Party has reached a new low.”
While Republicans questioned Ms. Tlaib’s phrasing, others questioned her version of history in suggesting Palestinians provided a safe haven.
Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., called her comments “ignorant.”
“You should take some time to learn the history before trying to rewrite it,” he tweeted.