Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) lashed out at Democrats — not Republicans — yesterday, in the wake of criticism leveled at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for minimizing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, accusing Dem leadership, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), of racism and using Congressional colleagues of color as "tokens of diversity."
Fox News reports that Tlaib "claimed in a Twitter message Saturday that she and other minority members of the party have been used as tokens whenever the party wants to project an image of inclusiveness."
She joined a number of Islamic activists on Twitter who were accusing Pelosi, who tweeted that 9/11 was "sacred ground," of not doing enough to defend Omar against what they felt were unfair attacks over comments she made that "some people did something" on September 11.
Omar's comments were, it seems, meant to allege that Muslims across the globe have been discriminated against and mistreated in the wake of the September 11 attacks — a point she was trying to use to justify her opposition to what she calls President Donald Trump's "Muslim ban," a travel restriction that prevents travelers from countries that actively sponsor and bankroll terrorist organizations from obtaining even temporary visas to visit the United States.
The ban itself has been altered several times. The final version, which bans residents of nine countries, seven of which are majority Muslim, has held up under legal scrutiny (so far).
Tlaib pointed out that several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have called comments criticizing Omar "incitement to violence" — a legal exception to the First Amendment's right to freedom of speech, and a punishable crime — but that Pelosi has chosen instead to ask Trump and others to simply tone down their rhetoric.
That's because, Tlaib, says, Pelosi and others in Democratic leadership are actively racist.
"They put us in photos when they want to show our party is diverse,” Tlaib wrote on social media. “However, when we ask to be at the table, or speak up about issues that impact who we are, what we fight for & why we ran in the first place, we are ignored. To truly honor our diversity is to never silence us.”
Tlaib also retweeted a post from Omar, essentially accusing Pelosi of the same, as well as a post from a "human rights activist" who doubled down.
“More and more we're realizing that POC [people of color] are used as props by @TheDemocrats,” Tlaib's retweeted missive read. “When we run, we're told to wait our turn. When we speak about our struggles, we're told we're angry. When we ask them to stand up for us, they say we're being divisive.”
Pelosi's comments on Saturday, indeed, did not defend Omar. Instead she merely asked the president not to use images of 9/11 in "political attacks," tweeting, "The memory of 9/11 is sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence. The President shouldn’t use the painful images of 9/11 for a political attack."
This isn't the first time Pelosi has failed to rush to the defense of her more vocal, progressive colleagues. She has chastised Omar before for using anti-Semitic tropes in speeches and accusing fellow Democrats of having "dual loyalty" to both Israel and the United States (Tlaib has also unleashed that particular smear on occasion). Pelosi also spearheaded an effort to censure Omar, which ultimately turned into a weaselly blanket condemnation of "all hate."
Just last week. Pelosi appeared to take aim at Tlaib's and Omar's sister-in-arms, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), complaining that real policy cannot be made on Twitter.
This is a battle Pelosi is likely to lose.