Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib Began Her First Term by Calling for Trump’s Impeachment

On Thursday, a new class of freshmen joined the 116th Congress, including a small contingent of progressive women that has garnered the majority of the media’s attention since the midterm elections. Among these women is Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman and one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, and she’s fired up to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Tlaib announced her intentions on this front Thursday, when she declared, “We’re gonna go in there and impeach the motherf*cker.”

Many liberals have been eager to see Trump officially punished (and ideally removed from office) by Congress since he was elected in 2016. Calls for Trump’s impeachment have come not only from Democratic voters, but also from some Democrats in Congress as well. California congresswoman Maxine Waters has repeatedly called for the House to start the process of impeachment against Trump, but there has not been broad support for this plan among congressional Democrats.

Nancy Pelosi, now once again Speaker of the House, previously said that the Democrats would not likely pursue impeachment if Democrats took back the House in the midterms, but has since changed her tune a bit. In a Thursday interview on NBC’s TODAY, Pelosi said that indicting and impeaching Trump is a matter of “open discussion.” She did not commit to pursuing charges against Trump, saying, “We have to wait and see what happens with the Mueller report. We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason. So we’ll just have to see how it comes.”

Even though Democratic party leadership has no immediate plans to pursue impeachment, right-wingers and even other liberals were unhappy with Tlaib’s statement. Republicans are, of course, against plans to impeach the president, and also attacked Tlaib over her use of a swear word in her speech (despite their support of a president who has used vulgar terms such as “p*ssy” when describing sexually predatory behavior against women).

Tlaib responded to the backlash by tweeting, “I will always speak truth to power. #unapologeticallyMe.” Evidently, she’s not going to let bluster over a swear word deter her plans.

Unlike Pelosi, Tlaib doesn’t see that there’s any reason to wait. In an op-ed for the Detroit Free Press on Thursday, Tlaib wrote: “We already have overwhelming evidence that the president has committed impeachable offenses, including, just to name a few: obstructing justice; violating the emoluments clause; abusing the pardon power; directing or seeking to direct law enforcement to prosecute political adversaries for improper purposes; advocating illegal violence and undermining equal protection of the laws; ordering the cruel and unconstitutional imprisonment of children and their families at the southern border; and conspiring to illegally influence the 2016 election through a series of hush money payments.”

In order to impeach Trump (which is a different procedure than removing him from office), the House would need a majority vote on a resolution over charges against the president. In theory, Democrats could accomplish this since they have the majority in the House of Representatives. If Trump is impeached by the House, it would then be up to the Senate (which is still controlled by Republicans) to remove him from office or not.

Getting Trump removed from office altogether is not realistic given the makeup of Congress, but some Democrats, Tlaib included, are still committed to leveraging formal sanctions from the House. For Tlaib, that sometimes means using a curse word, and it seems everyone will just have to learn to deal with it.

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(Photo via Win McNamee/Getty Images)