Science & Tech

Rashida Tlaib’s Vaping Interview: She’s Either Lying or Ignorant

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, July 18, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
We need our legislators to design policy based on facts, without the influence of laughably outlandish garbage like that coming from Tlaib. 

Representative Rashida Tlaib’s performance during a House subcommittee hearing on vaping was so completely, totally absurd that she must either be willfully lying or totally stupid.

No, I am not exaggerating. Tlaib made some straight-up bananas comments during Tuesday’s hearing, including asking Vicki Porter (who, as Reason’s Robby Soave notes, was the only pro-vaping witness at the hearing) whether or not she was a “conspiracy theorist.”

Tlaib asked:

“Ms. Porter, I was reading because I want to know more about you and your beliefs, and I respect that we all have different beliefs, but you call yourself a converted conservative and a reformed Marxist? Are you a conspiracy theorist?”

Porter responded:

“I think my politics are entirely irrelevant to this hearing.”

Porter is, of course, absolutely correct in this sentiment — but more on that later. First, I’ve got to highlight the rest of the drivel that Tlaib spewed during her joke of an interview.

For example: Because she apparently didn’t think she’d come off nuts enough the first time, Tlaib doubled-down on the “conspiracy” allegation again later. Porter had winked at Representative Glenn Grothman, and Tlaib interrogated her as to why she had done so. Porter gave a reasonable answer (“Because I know Glenn Grothman”) and Tlaib said — and I’m not kidding — “I thought maybe there was like a conspiracy thing going on.”

What?

But the stupid doesn’t end there. No, elsewhere in the interview, Tlaib literally said that secondhand smoke was “worse than directly smoking cigarettes.”

Again: What? Now, not only is that obviously not true, I am also having a hard time understanding how anyone could ever (ever!) even possibly think that it were. I mean, if that were the case, doctors would be advising children in households with parents who smoke to just start lighting up themselves, because puffing on cigs directly would at least be better for their health than just breathing it secondhand.

Oh, and Tlaib also seemed to suggest that vaping is just as harmful as smoking in the following exchange:

Porter: “The truth for me is that I quit smoking with e-cigarettes and so did eight million other people.”

Tlaib: “You’re still smoking, ma’am. You’re still smoking.”

Hey, Tlaib? No, she’s not, and suggesting that she is is just as ridiculous as claiming that secondhand smoke is worse than smoking. Although I’m sure it’s not good for you, the expert consensus is that it is, at least, better. A study conducted by (known den of conspiracy theorists) Harvard found that vaping is “almost certainly less lethal than conventional cigarettes,” and a Public Health England study found that it is 95 percent less harmful. (For more information on the actual facts on vaping safety, click here.)

So, why did Tlaib make such bizarre statements? Honestly, there are only two options: Either she was purposely making false statements, or she really is that ignorant. I don’t know which would be worse, but honestly, neither are acceptable. We need our legislators to design policy based on facts, without the influence of laughably outlandish garbage like that coming from Tlaib.

Let me be clear: Tlaib’s behavior at this hearing completely disgusted me — not just as someone who uses vaping products, but as an American. She had the nerve to not only make statements that fly in the face of facts, but also to act pompously in doing so, as if she were the smartest person in the room. And why? Why does she think she’s smarter; just because she’s a liberal and Porter is conservative? Certainly her whack-a-doo “conspiracy” allegation would suggest that that may be the case. Yes: Tlaib, apparently, believes that if you are a conservative, you are quite likely also a conspiracy theorist. She believes it so strongly that she actually finds it appropriate to bring up during a hearing that is about a nicotine product, without any regard for how disrespectful that is or how that further divides the country. The most mind-boggling part? She also, apparently, believes that she was the one with her head screwed on straight in that exchange.

Tlaib, do better. In the meantime; I will continue to hit my Juul to help me cope.

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