Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who made historical past this week as one of many first two Muslim American girls sworn in as members of Congress, has despatched some folks into spasms by speaking about impeaching President Donald Trump and utilizing a four-letter phrase within the course of.
“And when your son seems to be at you and says, ‘Mama, look, you gained. Bullies don’t win,’ and I stated, ‘Child, they don’t,’ as a result of we’re going to go in there and we’re going to question the motherfucker,” she instructed a crowd of supporters on Thursday night time celebrating the brand new Democratic majority within the Home.
It was completely predictable that conservatives and Trump supporters would erupt with fake outrage at listening to foul language from a Democrat. And Trump ― the president who famously spoke of grabbing girls “by the pussy,” referred to as Haiti and a few African nations “shithole international locations” and who has even publicly hurled “motherfuckers” himself ― stated Tlaib “dishonored her household” with the remark.
As ridiculous as that’s, it additionally wasn’t so unpredictable that some liberals would clutch their pearls as nicely.
Their argument is that this sort of assault fuels Trump’s hard-core base — as in the event that they’re not already on rocket gasoline, revved up by his each tweet — and turns off swing voters and independents, who could also be on the fence. CNN’s Chris Cillizza bizarrely warned Democrats about being “too anti-Trump,” lest they scare the fence sitters.
However each are facile and, frankly, ridiculous arguments within the age of Trump.
We heard the identical factor when Robert De Niro stated, “Fuck Trump,” on the Tony Awards final yr and when different celebrities have engaged in comparable “sturdy language,” as Sarah Huckabee Sanders described Trump’s use of four-letter phrases. New York Instances columnist Frank Bruni, grabbing for the smelling salts, warned of dire penalties of De Niro’s and different Trump opponents’ use of such foul language in a June column with a headline that didn’t age nicely, “The right way to Lose the Midterms and Re-elect Trump.”
As I wrote then, you’ll be able to’t be too anti-Trump as a result of there may be no one on the fence about him. Even when folks don’t like Tlaib’s language, what voter who opposed Trump is instantly going to now vote for him as a result of a Democrat referred to as him a nasty identify?
Certain, Tlaib is now a member of Congress, not a Hollywood superstar. And sure, along with calling him a motherfucker, she additionally stated Democrats had been going to question him. Democratic leaders have been cautious to downplay impeachment speak however on the similar time not rule it out. Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi simply this week stated it was one thing to take a look at however solely after particular counsel Robert Mueller points a report on the Russia probe.
However it’s no secret that many Democrats — and lots of People usually — imagine Trump ought to and might be impeached. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) reintroduced articles of impeachment in opposition to Trump this week, and authorized observers and political pundits, together with conservative ones, have speculated that Trump will seemingly be impeached and that it’s only a matter of when.
Sherman and some different Democratic Home members got here out in opposition to Tlaib’s language, however not solely did she state that she is unapologetic but in addition Pelosi downplayed Tlaib’s remark as “nothing worse than what the president has stated.”
“I wouldn’t use that language, however I wouldn’t set up language requirements for my colleagues,” Pelosi stated.
Fortunately, she and different Democratic leaders appear to be listening to their progressive base — which, regardless of the naysayers within the pundit class, was overwhelmingly supportive of Tlaib on social media.
There is no such thing as a draw back and solely upside to Tlaib’s assertion as a result of, like De Niro and others earlier than her, she is firing up progressives who really feel her ardour. Trump himself set new guidelines on what he termed “political correctness” in politics. The notion that this implies solely he can use foul language whereas others pays a worth is foolish. Irrespective of how vulgar Trump opponents’ language could also be, their phrases don’t even come near matching his horrendous actions.
It is a man who has put kids in cages, has shut down the federal government over his calls for for a border wall, has rolled again protections for the surroundings and is cozying as much as dictators and adversaries of this nation — with whom he could have colluded to win the presidency.
Calling him a motherfucker is nothing.
Michelangelo Signorile is a HuffPost editor-at-large. Comply with him on Twitter at @MSignorile.