The Slatest

Trump Says Tlaib’s Grandmother “Real Winner” of Nixed Trip: “She Doesn’t Have to See Her Now!”

Democratic Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district Rashida Tlaib attends "Shabatt in the Park with Rashida" event on August 16, 2019 in Pallister Park in Detroit, Michigan.
Democratic Representative for Michigan’s 13th congressional district Rashida Tlaib attends “Shabatt in the Park with Rashida” event on August 16, 2019 in Pallister Park in Detroit, Michigan.
JEFF KOWALSKY/Getty Images

President Donald Trump took to Twitter late Friday to continue his attack against Rep. Rashida Tlaib after she declined Israel’s conditional approval to visit her grandmother in the West Bank. The way the lawmaker ended up backtracking on visiting her family member shows that the whole request was a “complete setup,” Trump said.

In a series of tweets, Trump said Israel was “very respectful & nice” to Tlaib in granting the lawmaker permission “to visit her ‘grandmother’.” (Yes, he put “grandmother” in quotes.) But then “she grandstanded & loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel,” Trump wrote and then proceeded to ask if the whole controversy had “been a setup.” In a subsequent tweet, Trump said Tlaib “obnoxiously turned the approval down” to visit the West Bank. “The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother,” the president wrote. “She doesn’t have to see her now!”

The president then apparently couldn’t resist taking a dig at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for some reason, claiming she “is fuming, not happy” that Tlaib and Omar are “fast becoming the face of the Democrat Party.” Ocasio-Cortez responded with a laughing emoji.

Earlier Friday, Tlaib wrote a series of tweets explaining her rationale for rejecting the conditions that Israel had laid out for her to visit the West Bank. “I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies,” Tlaib wrote.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi harshly criticized both Trump and Israeli Prime Minister for what she characterized as “weakness” in their move to block two members of Congress from visiting the country. Still, she emphasized that their attitudes should not come to define U.S.-Israel relations. “We have a deep relationship and long-standing relationship with Israel that can withstand Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu,” Pelosi said in an interview with the Associated Press. “We cannot let their weaknesses stand in the way of our ongoing relationship.”

The speaker added she had “great, great, great sadness” over Israel’s move to block the visit of Tlaib and fellow Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar. But she noted that while each lawmaker can decide for themselves, Democrats should not automatically rule out traveling to Israel. “Members will make their own decisions about this, but I would not discourage travel to Israel,” Pelosi said. “We have a strong relationship with Israel as well as a deep love and respect for the people of Israel. And, again, this is not going to undermine that, try as President Trump will to do that.”