Video of then-former-State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, now a U.S. Representative, being forcibly ejected from a speech then-candidate now-President Donald Trump gave to the Detroit Economic Club has resurfaced in the wake of President Trump’s feud with the “Squad,” of which she is a leading member.
Tlaib, along with fellow freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), comprise the so-called “Squad” of socialists taking over the Democrat Party in the House of Representatives since they were elected in the 2018 midterm elections. But, back in 2016, Tlaib was just a state representative in Michigan’s statehouse, and when Trump was delivering remarks to the Detroit Economic Club in August 2016 as the GOP nominee for president–a few months before he defeated Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton nationally and in Michigan–Tlaib was one of several protesters ejected from the event.
The video shows Tlaib shouting at Trump’s supporters that, “You guys are crazy!” as security escorts her from the event by the arm. A man shouts back at Tlaib, “You’re an animal! Get a job!” Multiple security officials including a uniformed police officer are seen escorting an enraged Tlaib from the Trump event.
Rashida Tlaib screams in rage as she's escorted from candidate Trump's speech that she repeatedly interrupted in Detroit in August 2016.
Wonder where Antifa gets their boldness from??? Politicians acting like this sets the tone.
RT & let everyone can see this side of Rashida. pic.twitter.com/4WwHpI5FwR
— 🇺🇸OliverThePug 🇺🇸 (@ravena68) July 20, 2019
Crooked called us “Deplorables.” Tlaib calls us “Crazy.” In reality we just love our country, want every American—no matter their race, religion or socioeconomic status—to have a safe & prosperous life & expect our leaders to put America First. It’s simple pic.twitter.com/qUzyfE5z5o
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 21, 2019
The Detroit Economic Club said that Tlaib and other protesters who attempted unsuccessfully to disrupt the Trump speech then had committed fraud to enter the event.
“A misguided 23-year-old man fraudulently bought a new membership and invited female guests to do his dirty work,” Detroit Economic Club Beth Chappell wrote in an email to the organization’s members according to the Detroit Free Press. “New memberships were reviewed during the hectic few days leading up to the Trump meeting. His 20 guests could have raised a flag but did not since he purchased the membership under the name of a very reputable company. Turns out the perpetrator was let go from the firm two years ago. Important lesson learned.”
For the record, the leftist organization that stacked the audience with anti-Trump protesters with alleged fraudulent activity to get tickets denied any fraud. From the Detroit Free Press piece on the incident in August 2016:
Security officers and police removed 14 protesters, including former State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, after they began shouting at Trump as he laid out his economic plan to the typically buttoned-down business crowd. All but one of the protesters was a member of the Michigan Peoples Campaign, a statewide activist group that advocates for economic and racial justice.
The group’s director, Ryan Bates, denied any fraud.
“Absolutely not. The tickets were acquired by a Detroit Economic Club member in good standing and all the rules were followed,” Bates said. “I don’t want people to focus on the minutia of how we got the tickets, but on Donald Trump’s stand on the issues.”
According to the contemporary local news report, Chappell said that the Detroit Economic Club apologized to the Trump campaign for the “knucklehead” behavior of Tlaib and others escorted by police and security from the speech.
“We respect the right of free speech and the right to protest, but in an appropriate way and not inside a DEC meeting,” Chappell said. “Detroit was in the international spotlight yesterday and a knucklehead disrupts an historic speech? This is not reflective of our club or our city.”
Tlaib herself is quoted in the Detroit Free Press article as admitting to disrupting then-candidate Trump’s speech, and saying she did it because she disliked the now president’s message.
“We need to be heard … you cannot stay silent,” Tlaib said. “He doesn’t love Detroit. He doesn’t love no one who isn’t Donald Trump.”
Tlaib was so proud of her disruptive behavior she went on to write a full column about it for the Detroit Free Press later in August 2016, in which she defended herself against accusations that she was committing conduct unbecoming a former state representative and instead compared herself to civil rights movement luminaries like Rosa Parks, saying:
Titles carry a lot of weight in today’s society. When meeting someone we ask who they are, their place of employment, and their title. Are you a mom? Are you in leadership? How do you identify? I have had the fortunate privilege of serving as a state representative for residents in the great cities of Detroit, River Rouge, and Ecorse. Yet, that’s not the title I was thinking about when I joined 12 other brave women, and interrupted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during his speech at the Detroit Economic Club earlier this month.
Instead the titles that ran through my mind were: American, parent, Muslim, Arab-American, and woman. As I thought about my identities, I felt more and more that confronting Trump was the most patriotic and courageous act I could pursue.
I have heard critics calling it unbecoming of a former state legislator. Well, I believe it is unbecoming of any American to not stand up to Trump’s hate-filled rhetoric and tactics. Growing up the daughter of Palestinian immigrants in Detroit, I was taught about how Walter Reuther, Coleman Young, Rosa Parks, Viola Liuzzo and other great Detroiters risked their lives for justice. I still remember at the age of 12, learning that segregation had been permitted only a couple of decades before I was born and that a woman’s right to vote was not even a century old. But it was great Americans who stood up, some dying for the cause, to make our country better.
Tlaib’s disruptions were ineffective in Michigan in 2016, as Trump went on to defeat Clinton in the state. His narrow victory there, along with surprise wins in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin coupled with victories in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Iowa, helped Trump solidify a political realignment that gave him an electoral college win over Clinton in the 2016 presidential election–a win hardened in the nation’s industrial Rust Belt, of which Michigan is a central part.
Tlaib went on to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Michigan’s 13th congressional district in a complicated election that followed the resignation of longtime now former Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) over sexual harassment allegations. On August 9, 2018, the New York Times explained it in a piece about the breakdown of multiple elections–one of which Tlaib won, the other of which Tlaib lost. According to the Times:
Back in December, Representative John Conyers Jr. resigned his seat in Michigan’s 13th District over sexual harassment allegations. He had been one of Congress’s longest-serving members, having represented the district, which is 57 percent black, for 52 years.
Eight months later, on Tuesday, there was a special primary election to fill his seat for the remaining few months of his term. Tuesday was also the day of a primary election to fill the open position in Congress’s next term.
Two races on the same day for the same seat in different terms.
Confused? So were we.
So, why were there two races?
The easy answer is to save money, or at least that’s the reason Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder gave in a statement in December. Instead of hosting a separate special election to fill Mr. Conyers’s seat, he scheduled the special election to be on the same days as the primary and general voting already scheduled for 2018 to save taxpayers the expense of hosting more elections.
Governor Snyder also said he wanted to give ample time for candidates to decide whether to run for the seat. In the same news release, he said that the more time candidates have to file their paperwork gives constituents more options as to who will next represent them in Congress. More time to file means more people would file.
So what happened was now-former-Rep. Brenda Jones (D-MI) won the special election to fill out the remaining two months of Conyers’ term, whereas Tlaib won the special election for the new term. Tlaib only won the other race against Jones by about 900 votes, actually a much smaller margin of victory than Trump’s slim win over Clinton in the 2016 general election.
Nevertheless, Tlaib’s abrasive style of national politics on display since long before her election to the U.S. House has propelled her to the center of a feud with Trump–alongside her comrades, Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, and the lesser-known Pressley. Tlaib stole headlines at the beginning of this Congress by stepping on Democrats’ messaging as they took the majority when a video surfaced of her speaking in a D.C. barroom at a celebration in early January saying that she would impeach Donald Trump as president.
“We’re gonna impeach the motherfucker,” Tlaib said of Trump.