Rashida Tlaib Put A Florida Official's Grossly Islamophobic Attack On Her In Context

by Monica Hunter-Hart
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A Florida city commissioner is under fire for suggesting Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), one of two Muslim women in Congress, might "blow up" the U.S. Capitol. Commissioner Annabelle Lima-Taub made the remark after reportedly signing a petition to remove Tlaib from office less than a week after she was sworn in. On Tuesday, Tlaib responded to the "blow up Capitol Hill" comment by placing some blame on President Donald Trump and the GOP.

Commissioner Lima-Taub made the remark on Facebook last week, according to a screenshot from Fort Lauderdale paper The Sun-Sentinel. "Proudly signed," she wrote, linking to a petition that seems to have been created with the White House's own petitioning service. "A Hamas-loving anti-Semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and [I] would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill."

Lima-Taub's comments have been denounced by other Florida commissioners and many leaders around the country, according to The Sun-Sentinel. Meanwhile, Tlaib is pointing to the rising hate against Muslims in the United States.

"This sort of hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric doesn't happen in a vacuum — this President embraced it and Republicans have happily gone along with it," Tlaib tweeted on Tuesday. When reached by email, her office said it didn't have further comment, noting that the "tweet sums it up."

The petition seems to have been circulating in the aftermath of Tlaib calling for Trump's impeachment on Jan. 3, per The Sun-Sentinel. Speaking at a MoveOn event, the brand-new representative told the audience, "We're gonna impeach the mother****er." She has been very clear that she believes Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against the president and wrote a Jan. 3 op-ed on the topic for The Detroit Free Press. But her speech — and in particular, her use of a curse word — was criticized by some.

Tlaib has since apologized for using a word that "was a distraction," but says she won't apologize for the substance of her comments. "I have a right to be this passionate, this upset," she added. "I will never apologize for being me and for being passionate and upset."

Her statement was not enough to satisfy all her critics, though. Commissioner Lima-Taub signed the petition urging Tlaib to resign that same day. Ironically, Lima-Taub's comments have led to calls for her own resignation.

"Xenophobic stereotypes must not be embraced by any elected official," a representative for Florida's chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told HuffPost. "Her un-American, xenophobic statements establish that she is unfit to hold the Commissioner's seat. She must apologize immediately and follow up that apology with her resignation." Al-Awda South Florida has also begun a #ResignLimaTaub petition on The Action Network.

Many have pointed out the fact that Tlaib's use of the word "mother****er" received more attention from the media than comments from another representative that were openly bigoted but didn't involve curse words. On Jan. 10, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) suggested to The New York Times that the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" shouldn't be considered offensive. While Lima-Taub is a low-level official in Florida, it may still be telling to see how much attention her suggestion that Tlaib could "blow up" the U.S. Capitol receives.