On Jan. 3 Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic congresswoman from Michigan’s 13th congressional district, was sworn into the 116th session of U.S. Congress. The same day that Tlaib was sworn into office, she told a group of her supporters, regarding President Donald Trump, “we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf*****.”
Tlaib’s comments sparked a national debate – a debate that hit close to home for many members of the Hillsdale community.
A petition to have Tlaib removed from office has been circulating on social media, including among the social platforms of Hillsdale residents who are upset about Tlaib’s comment.
The petition claims that Tlaib is unfit for Congress and calls for “her immediate removal from her seat.”
Hillsdale resident, Penny Swan, opposed Tlaib’s remarks.
“Saying those words is absolutely disrespectful and disgusting, no matter what venue one is speaking in,” Swan said in a personal message. “I’m embarrassed by a Michigan politician disrespecting our president with such horrific words.”
For Swan, Tlaib’s remarks show a lack of respect for the office of the president.
“Trump is the commander in chief and demands a certain amount of respect,” Swan said. “He won that respect by winning the election.”
While the petition surpassed its goal of 100,000 signatures, there has been no change in Tlaib’s position among the freshmen representatives in the House.
While some people call for Tlaib’s removal from office, Mayor Adam Stockford said that it’s up to her constituents to decide her ultimate fate.
“It isn’t for me to judge,” Stockford said in an email.
Stockford admits that much worse can be said, even claiming, “I’ve said worse.”
“The tragedy of it is that she’s getting national attention for saying something that any fool can say,” Stockford said. “It’s going to make her a powerful representative because now she’s recognizable.”
Since Tlaib’s initial comments, many people have weighed in on the issue, including the president himself. In a Tweet, Trump asked how “you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time.” Trump did not identify the reason for his tweet, but it came the morning after Tlaib’s remarks.
Even some Democrats have come forward to condemn Tlaib’s statement. Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York and and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said it’s too early to intelligently talk about a possible impeachment.
“I don’t really like that kind of language, but more to the point, I disagree with what she said,” Nadler said on CNN.
On Jan. 15, a Jewish city commissioner from Florida’s Hallandale Beach in Broward County, signed the petition on Facebook, but not without controversy. Along with the commissioner’s post where she claimed to have “proudly” signed the petition, she also added that Tlaib “is a danger” and that she “would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.”
Tlaib responded on Twitter to the commissioner’s comments saying: “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.”
Kevin Portteus, professor of politics at Hillsdale College, said he isn’t necessarily concerned with Tlaib’s comments, but rather the substance that is buried beneath the shock factor.
“The idea that she should be silenced is ridiculous,” Portteus said in an email. “Let people see her for what she is, whatever that may be.”