Breaking News Emails
Hours after being sworn in, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., told a cheering crowd of supporters on Thursday that the Democrats "are gonna impeach the motherf---er" in a video posted online.
Tlaib, a Detroit native who is one of the first two Muslim women and the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, is seen recalling her son's response to her election.
"When your son looks at you and said, ‘Mamma, look you won, bullies don't win,'" she tells a cheering crowd. "And I said, baby, they don't, because we’re gonna go in there and we're gonna impeach the motherf---er."
Asked about her remark on Friday, President Donald Trump said he didn't know Tlaib.
"Her comments were disgraceful," he said on Friday afternoon. "I think she dishonored herself and dishonored her family...using language like that in front of her son."
The exchange was captured on camera by an immigration activist, who also posted a group selfie with Tlaib. NBC News has not verified the authenticity of the video, butTlaib, seeming to acknowledge the remark Friday morning, tweeted, "I will always speak truth to power."
Impeaching Trump is quickly becoming a flashpoint for Democrats, with some in the progressive wing of the party — including Tlaib — calling for impeachment proceedings while others have urged the party to focus on legislating. In an opinion article she co-wrote that was published in The Detroit Press Press on Thursday, Tlaib argued that proceedings should begin immediately.
Tlaib dodged reporters outside the Capitol on Friday, ducking under police tape to avoid media and refusing to answer questions, but her office issued a statement Friday morning standing by her remarks.
"Congresswoman Tlaib was elected to shake up Washington, not continue the status quo," the statement said. "Donald Trump is completely unfit to serve as President. The Congresswoman absolutely believes he needs to be impeached and ... will not stay silent."
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D.-Calif., said during an MSNBC town hall on Friday morning that "impeachment is a very divisive approach to take and we shouldn't take it ... without the facts."
She added: "I probably have a generational reaction to it...I'm not in the censorship business. I don't like that language, I wouldn't use that language, but I wouldn't establish language standards for my colleagues."
A spokesman confirmed that Pelosi has not spoken with Tlaib since she made the remark Thursday evening.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., also took issue with Tlaib's comments.
"I don't really like that kind of language. But more to the point, I disagree with what she said. It is too early to talk about that intelligently," Nadler, whose committee would oversee any impeachment effort, said on CNN on Friday morning.
"We have to follow the facts; we have to get the facts," he added. "That's why it is important to protect the Mueller investigation. That's why it's important to do our own inquiry. ... We'll see where the facts lead — and maybe that will lead to impeachment. Maybe it won't, but it's much too early."
Pelosi told NBC earlier Thursday that impeachment will hinge on the outcome of the investigation into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, but she didn't rule it out.
Trump addressed the calls for impeachment in a series of tweets Friday morning, asking how he could be removed from office after winning "perhaps the greatest election of all time" and claiming to have had the most successful first two years of any president.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said impeachment efforts would not succeed, and were a ploy to boost Democrats in 2020.
"Look, you're not going to impeach this president when he’s had two of the most successful years in modern history that any president has had," Sanders said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., excoriated Tlaib for her remarks.
"Is the House majority going to be serious about anything? I sat up on the dais, provided the gavel to the new speaker, talked about ways we could work together, laid out firm core principles that we would not compromise on, and then we see this language going forward. How do you work with anybody if this is what they really have planned?" he told reporters on Friday.
The daughter of immigrants, Tlaib served in the Michigan legislature and later as a legal advocate. She's a progressive Democrat, with a long list of endorsements from the left, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., defended her colleague and friend.
"The House of Representatives is representative of the people of the United States of America. She represents a group of people that have strong feelings. She had strong feelings and she expressed it," she told reporters. "But that's what's great about our Caucus. We're diverse, but we all come together when we’ve got to get things done."