Democrats Defend Rashida Tlaib's Holocaust Comments After GOP Smears

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on Republicans to “stop your ugly attacks against Muslim women in Congress.”

Democrats defended Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) as she faced a wave of backlash from Republicans attempting to twist a comment she made about the Holocaust.

Last week Tlaib, who became the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress in January, said during an interview she was “humbled” and got a “calming feeling” when recalling that her “ancestors provided a [safe haven] in many ways” for Jews during the Holocaust.

Here’s the full quote, made during an interview with Yahoo News’ “Skullduggery” podcast in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day:

There’s, you know, there’s a 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, had been wiped out … 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.

... I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that [safe haven] in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them, and so when I think about one-state, I think about the fact that why can’t we do it in a better way? ... Why can’t we all be free and safe together? 

Republicans ― including President Donald Trump ― latched onto her use of “a calming feeling” in discussing the Holocaust, twisting the phrase for an opportunity to call the congresswoman anti-Semitic. The smear campaign smelled similar to the one Republicans lobbed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) ― the fallout of which is ongoing.

In Tlaib’s case, Dems were quick to condemn the bad faith operation. This week a number of Democrats came to her aid, including Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), who tweeted, “Republicans’ desperate attempts to smear @RepRashida & misrepresent her comments are outrageous. President @realDonaldTrump & House GOP should apologize to Rep. Tlaib & the American people for their gross misrepresentations.”

Omar fired directly at Trump, noting that he “praised people at a neo-Nazi rally.” 

“This is another transparent attempt to sow division between minority communities and distract from your own criminal behavior by smearing a Muslim woman,” she stated on Twitter. 


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on Republicans to “stop your ugly attacks against Muslim women in Congress.” 

Tlaib pushed back herself, accusing Republicans of twisting her words for a “racist and hateful agenda.”