Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat, represents Michigan’s 13th Congressional District in the U.S. House.
President Trump has found new targets for his harmful distraction through unhinged tweets and speeches: me and some of my colleagues in the U.S. House. You all know what he said: We do not love this country. He told us, in effect, to go back where we came from. (I actually go home to Detroit every week.) He has even gone so far as to call me a “crazed lunatic.”
This behavior is sadly familiar — almost every day, he disgraces his office with rhetoric rooted in hate. He did it again this weekend when he trashed the city of Baltimore. While my colleagues and I work on ways to improve the lives of our constituents, he is focused on a hate agenda for our country.
He also said the values I hold dear are not in line with those of my home state of Michigan. Nothing could be further from the truth. Michigan, especially the 13th Congressional District, is grounded in the values of equity, justice and respect for each other — in short, things he knows nothing about.
I was elected to represent the city of Detroit and Wayne County, where I was born and raised and educated in the Detroit public school system. I was sent to Washington to fight the corporate assault on families, and that includes making sure government is about the people.
It is a remarkable time in our country’s history when the president is hindering our desire for universal health care, lower prescription drug prices, equity in education, and stopping the for-profit schemes that hurt children and communities such as mine. With every hate-fueled tweet, he gets us off track as we try to hold him and his reckless administration accountable.
When this president misleads the American people and doesn’t comply with congressional subpoenas, he undermines our democracy, creating a dangerous precedent that the president is above the law. Who cares about that little thing we call the Constitution? Certainly not this president. I believe that this president has committed multiple impeachable offenses and that the House must begin an impeachment inquiry. As many of you probably remember, I said as much at the start of my term in Congress. I still believe it.
Trump has been running our government in a pay-to-play manner, evident in his Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to allow the harmful merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. It has been widely reported — I don’t think it’s just a coincidence — that T-Mobile spent close to $200,000 at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. at the same time it was lobbying the Trump administration to approve a merger that will increase cell plan prices and reduce jobs.
Over the past seven months, I have spoken with hundreds of community members, real people, who are sick and tired of high auto insurance premiums (Michigan has the highest), who are paying thousands for their insulin, who are stuck renting their homes because they are drowning in college debt, and who have seen the suffering of our neighbors fighting for clean air and drinking water. Residents want a world where they come before big corporations and billionaires. They want respect and to be able to live with full dignity and quality of life.
So contrary to what the president alleged, I’m guided every day by the values I share with the people of Michigan’s 13th District. It makes me proud to say so. And to make sure I stay rooted in our community, and don’t become numb to their needs or forget why I ran in the first place, I created four district offices I call Neighborhood Service Centers. These outposts have helped residents reduce their prescription drug costs and meet their student loans obligations and address the district’s high auto insurance premiums. Among a host of bills, I’ve introduced the Boost Act, which would cut the poverty rate by 45 percent. There are years of struggle and inaction I can’t take back for my constituents — but I won’t let them wait any longer. They need change today.
While Trump tweets, I will work for the people who sent me here and to ensure they — and all other Americans — have someone who isn’t afraid to speak truth to power. Hateful, bigoted or racist tweets won’t stop me, nor will they stop our democracy.
I will always outwork the hate. My district and country depend on it.