Florida official says Rashida Tlaib might 'blow up Capitol Hill'

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, wearing a traditional Palestinian robe, takes the oath of office  in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 3.

A Florida official is sparking outcry from activists after she allegedly referred to a new Michigan congresswoman as an anti-Semite who might “blow up Capitol Hill."

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Monday that Hallandale Beach Commissioner Annabelle Lima-Taub, who is Jewish, had signed an online petition last week seeking to remove U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat, from office and posted it on her Facebook page.

The Sentinel reported that the post was removed after the newspaper inquired about it.

Tlaib, who made history as the first Palestinian woman elected to Congress and one of the first two Muslim women in the House or Senate, recently ignited her own controversy when she publicly referred to President Donald Trump with an expletive and called for his impeachment.

According to the Sentinel, Lima-Taub wrote in a post: “A Hamas-loving anti-Semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and [I] would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.”

Tlaib, D-Detroit, blasted the remarks on Twitter, saying such "anti-Muslim rhetoric doesn't happen in a vacuum — this President embraced it, and Republicans have happily gone along with it." 

"It's unfortunate that you have people in elected office that feel the need to spew Islamophobia and hate," Tlaib said in a Wednesday interview at the U.S. Capitol.


Lima-Taub's post prompted Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights group, to call for her resignation.

"Hate speech should have no place in our politics. We condemn Commissioner Lima-Taub’s deeply offensive words and call on her to resign as Hallandale Beach commissioner immediately," public advocacy director Scott Simpson said in a statement Tuesday.

"There is no religious litmus test to hold public office in the United States and any politician who would spout this kind of vile anti-Muslim rhetoric is clearly not fit to govern. ... Further, Commissioner Lima-Taub’s hateful words once again bring to light an ongoing trend of vile attacks on vulnerable communities committed through social media."

Tlaib, 42, was sworn into office this month. The Democratic former state lawmaker and social justice attorney succeeded former Rep. John Conyers Jr. in representing Michigan’s 13th District, which includes parts of Detroit and Wayne County.

Her comments about the president were made, according to an aide, during a Washington party hosted by the groups MoveOn.org and New American Leaders. 

Tlaib's remarks drew criticism from the president, as well as her new colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle. 

She addressed the uproar over her impeachment comments during an press conference in Detroit last week on the partial government shutdown

"The use of that language was a teachable moment for me," she said. "I understand I am a member of Congress. And I don't want anything that I do or say to distract us. That is the only thing I apologize for, is that it was a distraction.

"We have a course that we have to stick to, and nothing I say should distract us from that. The shutdown has to be at the forefront, that's what I am here for, to shift to. This is so much more important."

Washington correspondent Melissa Nann Burke contributed