The Morning Jolt

Politics & Policy

A Congressional Democrat’s Latest Anti-Semitic Remarks

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) questions Michael Cohen on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., February 27, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Making the click-through worthwhile: Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib ignites the latest installment in the controversy over anti-Semitic rhetoric, Senate Democrats mark Mother’s Day by cheering for government-funded abortion, and Trump bestows a nickname on Mayor Pete.

Rashida Tlaib Ignites New Controversy over Anti-Semitism

Over the weekend, Yahoo! News published a new episode of the “Skullduggery” podcast, an interview with Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). After she was asked about her support for a “one-state solution” to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, Tlaib noted that the U.S. had recently marked Holocaust Remembrance Day and said she was “humbled” by the fact that her ancestors suffered to create a new home for the Jewish people.

More from Tlaib’s remarks:

There’s, you know, there’s a kind of a calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence, in many ways, had been wiped out. . . . I mean, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time.

I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that [safe haven], in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right? And it was forced on them. And so, when I think about one-state, I think about the fact that, why couldn’t we do it in a better way?

House Republicans were quick to criticize Tlaib for her comments. “There is no justification for the twisted and disgusting comments made by Rashida Tlaib just days after the annual Day of Holocaust Remembrance,” said House minority whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) in a statement. “More than six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust; there is nothing ‘calming’ about that fact.”

Congresswoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking GOP representative, called on House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Democratic majority leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) to “take action” against Tlaib and other members of their caucus for their “vile anti-Semitism.”

For her part, Tlaib has refused to back down. Her communications director released a statement on Sunday evening, insisting that the congresswoman hadn’t said the Holocaust brought a calming feeling to her and calling the Republican criticism of her “dangerous.” On Twitter, Tlaib was even less conciliatory:

Though the GOP response was arguably somewhat overblown — Tlaib’s comments were certainly objectionable, but it’s not fair to accuse her of celebrating the Holocaust — the congresswoman’s response is reminiscent of the tactics employed by her fellow Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), who has provoked GOP outrage with her own anti-Semitic rhetoric. It’s a simple tactic: Say whatever you want and, when the criticism comes, insist that your opponents are trying to silence you and are putting you in danger.

But no one is calling for Tlaib and Omar to be silenced or claiming they shouldn’t exercise their right to free speech. What these Democrats really want is to exercise that right without being challenged. They don’t want freedom of speech, they want freedom from criticism. And to turn the tables on their critics, they dismiss any kind of censure as “dangerous.” 

Senate Democrats Celebrate Mother’s Day by Celebrating . . . Abortion? 

Every year, Planned Parenthood — the nation’s largest abortion provider — runs a morbidly ironic fundraising campaign on Mother’s Day, and this year was no exception:

But this year, Democratic politicians enthusiastically joined the group in its efforts. In a burst of self-delusion and stunning cognitive dissonance, Senate Democrats took to the floor to celebrate Mother’s Day, using their remarks to celebrate “reproductive care” and defend government funding of the abortion provider.

“With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s important to make clear that we cannot stand idly by while the administration undermines access to . . . reproductive care for women,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.). Senator Tammy Duckworth (D., Ill.) likewise criticized the Trump administration for trying “to defund health clinics that provide routine care and mammograms,” referencing a new policy that would remove about $50 million in federal funding from Planned Parenthood clinics — which have never actually offered mammograms and where provision of most procedures aside from STD tests and abortion have dropped significantly over the last decade.

But falsehoods in support of Planned Parenthood are a staple of Democratic rhetoric. “President Trump is working to sabotage the care moms and their families rely on,” said Senator Patty Murray (D., Wash.). “President Trump is . . . working to strip Title X grants from Planned Parenthood, which serves tens of thousands of women in my home state of Washington each year and millions more nationwide.”

Senator Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) lamented the “unrelenting attacks on women’s health by Donald Trump and Republicans,” including “continuous efforts to defund Planned Parenthood to taking away Title X funds.”

“An investment in family planning is money well spent because it helps moneys cope with reproductive health planning and can help prevent health crises,” said Senator Chris van Hollen (D., Md.).

Democratic politicians are fond of ignoring that GOP defunding proposals would redirect every cent of family-planning funds to community health centers that outnumber Planned Parenthood locations and provide a far greater number of health-care services. Not only that, but it’s beyond perverse to use Mother’s Day to celebrate a group ends the lives of more than 330,000 unborn children every year.

Who Remembers Mad Magazine?

In an interview with Politico on Friday, Trump described South Bend mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg with an unexpected nickname: “Alfred E. Neuman cannot become president of the United States,” Trump said. It was a reference to the freckle-faced, gap-toothed cartoon character on the cover of Mad, a satirical magazine.

But Buttigieg claimed not to understand it. “I’ll be honest. I had to Google that. I guess it’s just a generational thing. I didn’t get the reference,” he said. “It’s kind of funny, I guess. But he’s also the president of the United States and I’m surprised he’s not spending more time trying to salvage this China deal.”

Then Mad magazine got in on the action, tweeting on Friday, “Who’s Pete Buttigieg? Must be a generational thing.”

Even if it might require younger folks to do some Googling (I didn’t get the reference either, Mayor Pete), Trump’s comparison is fairly apt. The president’s knack for schoolyard-bully–style nicknames might be an asset on the campaign trail, but his penchant for name-calling is an unfortunate development for our political discourse.

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