Speaking directly to Tlaib, who on Thursday became the first Palestinian American woman sworn in as a member of Congress, Ocasio-Cortez added: “I got your back.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments come in response to a wave of criticism aimed toward Tlaib, who spoke candidly during a Thursday night reception for progressive group MoveOn.org. In a video that went viral, she used an expletive while vowing that the Democrat-controlled House would focus their efforts on removing Trump from office.
“Don’t you ever, ever, let anybody take away your roots, your culture, who you are. Ever,” Tlaib told the crowd in the packed space. “Because when you [hang on to those things], people love you and you win. And when your son looks at you and says, ‘Mama, look. You won. Bullies don’t win.'
“And I said, ‘Baby, they don’t,’ because we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf-----.”
In her tweet, Ocasio-Cortez seems to reference a recorded 2005 conversation between Trump and Billy Bush that emerged before the 2016 presidential election. In the video clip, Trump is heard bragging about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women.
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said. He added, “Grab them by the p---y . . . You can do anything.”
Trump later brushed off the conversation as “locker-room banter.”
Although Ocasio-Cortez came to Tlaib’s defense, several of her Democratic colleagues showed concern with the choice of words by the Michigan congresswoman. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) characterized the speech as “inappropriate” and potentially distracting and counterproductive for Democrats.
Those on the right expressed outrage — spearheaded by Trump, who called Tlaib’s comments “disgraceful.”
“I assume she’s new. I think she dishonored herself, and I think she dishonored her family,” Trump said at a news conference. “I thought it was highly disrespectful to the United States of America.”
On Fox News, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) accused Tlaib of attacking the president.
“Look at the brand-new elected congresswoman and her language of what she says to her son in a rally that she thought was private last night,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said. “Their whole focus here is to try and attack this president when we’re trying to move America forward.”
It’s not clear if Tlaib thought the MoveOn reception was private, though several journalists were in attendance and multiple activists were filming her. Representatives for MoveOn did not respond to a request for Friday.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Friday that Tlaib “took the politics of Washington deeper down the drain.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) acknowledged “legitimate” outrage over Trump but said it was premature to be talking about impeachment. Pelosi has often said lawmakers need to let special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election play out.
“It’s about the facts and the law, and where that takes you,” Pelosi told MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid at the taping of an MSNBC town hall Friday morning.
Pelosi also said she didn’t like Tlaib’s language but was “not in the censorship business” — and suggested there wouldn’t have been so much hand-wringing over Tlaib’s comments if she were a man.
“What she said is less offensive than what President Trump said about John McCain,” Pelosi told Reid. (It’s unclear exactly which instance Pelosi was referencing, as the president insulted and snubbed the late senator multiple times during their years-long feud.)
On Friday, though, Tlaib showed no indication that she would apologize or back down from her remarks.
“I will always speak truth to power,” she wrote, adding the hashtag #unapologeticallyMe.
Early standouts from the diverse 116th class of Congress, this is not the first time Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez have advocated for one another.
An apparent effort by the right to smear Ocasio-Cortez — a video of her dancing on a rooftop — emerged earlier this week. While the video largely had the opposite effect, Tlaib was vocal in supporting her “fierce sister.”
Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) chimed in, too: “Just to go on the record. I’m for more dancing in politics not less,” she tweeted.