Tlaib launches sale of 'Impeach the MF' T-shirts

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s re-election campaign is capitalizing on calls to impeach President Donald Trump with a line of T-shirts sporting her January call to “Impeach the mother (expletive)!”

Priced at $29 each, the T-shirts come in six different designs sporting the Detroit Democrat’s infamous call for Trump’s impeachment as part of an American flag or as a hashtag.

“You’ve asked for ‘em. And now we’ve got ‘em,” according to the Thursday email from Team Rashida.

The T-shirts reference a story Tlaib recounted soon after being sworn into office in early January 2019 at a and New American Leaders party. In an address that was filmed and later went viral, Tlaib recounted her son telling her, “‘Look, Mama, you won. Bullies don’t win.’ And I said, ‘Baby, they don’t because we’re going to go in there and we’re going to impeach the mother (expletive).’”

The comment sparked a bipartisan backlash, including condemnation from Trump who called Tlaib’s comments “disgraceful” and “disrespectful.”

Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga of Zeeland slammed the T-shirts as inappropriate, saying he’d be letting his constituents know about them. 

“Can you imagine the outrage if I had put a T-shirt together like that for impeaching President Obama?” Huizenga said. 

“First of all, my mother would have called me and told me, ‘Shame on you.’ Then I would have heard from my Republican colleagues asking me, ‘What in the world are you doing?’” he added. 

“Then I would have to face myself in the mirror and my kids and explain what’s going on, at the same time I’m getting preachy about decorum and how we need civility in politics.” 

Michigan Republican Party chairwoman Laura Cox also criticized the merchandise sales. 

"Rashida Tlaib's efforts to sell pro-impeachment T-shirts shows that these inquiries are nothing more than a partisan ploy by Democrats to fill their campaign coffers and appease the radical base," Cox said. "The American people deserve real results, not another witch hunt Democrats want to go through."

On Friday, Tlaib took to Twitter to explain her choice to sell the shirts. 

"Impeachment is serious - I know this. But it is a mistake to try to equate t-shirts with the destruction of our democracy or try to paint those who’ve risked our safety calling for it, as not taking it seriously," she said in the tweet. 

"If there is anyone who takes impeachment seriously it is myself & the people I fight for everyday. Whether or not you agree with the expression, the t-shirts are to bring levity to my supporters. A senior in my district said, 'It feels liberating.'"

She told people to focus not on the shirts but on Trump's behavior.

"Not only has this President personally targeted my faith, but he has been making decisions as a CEO of the Trump Corp., not as someone looking out for what is best for the American people. Focus on why people are so angry with this President and his administration," she said. "Instead of the t-shirts, focus on this President’s criminal, impeachable behavior."

Tlaib hasn’t been shy about repeating calls for Trump’s impeachment, which included her introduction in late March of an impeachment resolution. But a recent whistleblower report alleging Trump abused his office’s power to “solicit interference from a foreign country” appears to have fueled Tlaib’s determination.

Tlaib's message is one familiar to people in the 13th Congressional District and one that some have grown to accept or embrace, said TJ Bucholz, Tlaib's campaign spokesman. 

"Especially for Rashida’s supporters, it's probably a fun item and maybe a collectible item to have," Bucholz said.

The web page advertising the T-shirts notes the nation is “at the most critical moment in our movement to impeach Donald Trump,” but that momentum and volume is needed to ensure swift action.

“Get your ‘Impeach the MF’ t-shirt today to show your support for our movement to impeach Donald Trump and support Rashida’s re-election campaign!” the website said.

The website notes that the items are being offered as a gift in return for a contribution of $29 and that Tlaib “is solely responsible for producing and shipping your gift.”

Reporter Melissa Nann Burke contributed.