Biden praises Rashida Tlaib, Congress's lone Palestinian American, during Dearborn visit

May 18, 2021 at 3:44 pm
click to enlarge President Joe Biden. - Nuno21 /
Nuno21 /
President Joe Biden.

President Joe Biden addressed U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib — the only Palestinian American in Congress, and a vocal critic of both Israel and Biden — during his speech while visiting a Ford Motor Co. plant in Dearborn on Wednesday.

Though he appeared to mispronounce her name as "Rashid," Biden addressed Tlaib directly while giving Michigan's Democratic lawmakers a shoutout.

"Rashid Tlaib — where's Rashid?" Biden said. "I'll tell you what, Rashid, I want to say to you that I admire your intellect, I admire your passion, and I admire your concern for so many other people. And it's my from my heart, I pray that your grandmom and family are well — I promise I’m going to do everything you see that they are in the West Bank. You're a fighter, and God thank you for being a fighter."

The comments come amid a conflict in recent days that has seen Israel kill at least 197 Palestinians, while Hamas has killed at least 10 Israelis.

On Monday, Tlaib called Israel an "apartheid" state on MSNBC and accused Biden of "taking orders" from Israeli prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Enough, President Biden," Tlaib said. "You will not do this on our watch. You have to speak out against this violence in a very aggressive way that holds Netanyahu and his leadership accountable."

According to the New York Post, Tlaib and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell confronted Biden on the tarmac of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport when he arrived on Tuesday, where they spoke with him about the issue for nearly eight minutes.

Dingell told The New York Times that the exchange was part of "an important dialogue" but declined to discuss it much further.

"It was a very compassionate, honest discussion," she said. "But the president doesn't deal with these kinds of issues in public, and he doesn't negotiate in public."

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