|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Michigan's 13th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Brenda Jones|
|Member of the|
Michigan House of Representatives
January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2014
|Preceded by||Steve Tobocman|
|Succeeded by||Stephanie Chang|
|Constituency||12th district (2009–12)|
6th district (2012–14)
July 24, 1976
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
(m. 1998; div. 2015)
|Education||Wayne State University (BA)|
Thomas M. Cooley Law School (JD)
Rashida Harbi Tlaib (//; born July 24, 1976) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district since 2019. The district includes the western half of Detroit, along with several of its western suburbs and much of the Downriver area. A member of the Democratic Party, Tlaib represented the 6th and 12th districts of the Michigan House of Representatives before her election to Congress.
In 2018 Tlaib won the Democratic nomination for the United States House of Representatives seat from Michigan's 13th congressional district. She ran unopposed in the general election and became the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress, the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan legislature and, with Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.
Tlaib is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). She and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are the third and fourth DSA members to serve in Congress and the first female DSA members to serve in Congress. Tlaib has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration and advocated impeachment of President Donald Trump. On foreign affairs, she has sharply criticized the Israeli government, called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel, and expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Tlaib is a member of the informal group known as "The Squad" along with Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
The eldest of 14 children, Rashida Tlaib (née Harbi) was born on July 24, 1976, to working-class Palestinian immigrants in Detroit. Her mother was born in Beit Ur El Foka, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Her father was born in Beit Hanina, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem. He moved first to Nicaragua, then to Detroit. He worked on an assembly line in a Ford Motor Company plant. As the eldest, Tlaib played a role in raising her siblings while her parents worked.
Tlaib attended elementary school at Harms, Bennett Elementary, and Phoenix Academy. She graduated from Southwestern High School in Detroit in 1994. Tlaib completed a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Wayne State University in 1998 and earned a Juris Doctor from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School in 2004.
Tlaib began her political career in 2004 when she interned with State Representative Steve Tobocman. When Tobocman became Majority Floor Leader in 2007, he hired Tlaib to his staff. In 2008 Tobocman encouraged Tlaib to run for his seat, which he was vacating due to term limits. The urban district is 40% Hispanic, 25% African-American, 30% non-Hispanic white Americans, and 2% Arab American. Tlaib faced a crowded primary that included several Latinos, including former State Representative Belda Garza. She emerged victorious, carrying 44% of the vote in the eight-way Democratic primary and winning the general election with over 90% of the vote.
In 2010 Tlaib faced a primary election challenge from Jim Czachorowski in his first bid for office. Tlaib picked up 85% of the vote to Czachorowski's 15%, and won the general election with 92% of the vote against Republican challenger Darrin Daigle.
In 2012 Tlaib won reelection again to the Michigan House in the newly redrawn 6th District against fellow incumbent Maureen Stapleton. She could not run for the Michigan House a fourth time in 2014 because of term limits and ran for the Michigan Senate, losing to incumbent Senator Virgil Smith Jr. in the Democratic primary in August 2014.
During her tenure as a legislator, Tlaib was one of ten Muslims serving in state legislatures across the United States. She is the second Muslim to serve in the Michigan State House of Representatives, after James Karoub. Tlaib is the second Muslim woman to serve in a state legislature nationwide, after Jamilah Nasheed of Missouri. She and Justin Amash, a Republican who was also elected in 2008, were the first two Palestinian-American members of the Michigan legislature.
After leaving the state legislature, Tlaib worked at Sugar Law Center, a Detroit nonprofit that provides free legal representation for workers.
In 2018, Tlaib announced her intention to run for John Conyers's seat in Congress. She filed in both the Democratic primary in the special election for the balance of Conyers's 27th term and in the general election for a full two-year term. Both elections were to be held the same day.
As of July 16, 2018, Tlaib had raised $893,030 in funds, more than her five opponents in the August 7 Democratic primary.
In the Democratic primary for the special election, Tlaib finished second to Detroit City Council president Brenda Jones, who received 32,727 votes (37.7% of the total) to Tlaib's 31,084 (35.9%). Bill Wild, mayor of Westland, received 13,152 votes (15.2%) and Ian Conyers, the great-nephew of former Congressman Conyers, took fourth with 9,740 (11.2%). Jones faced no major-party opposition in the special election.
In the Democratic primary for the general election, Tlaib defeated Jones and Wild, among others. She received 27,803 votes, or 31.2%. She faced no major-party opposition in November 2018, though Jones mounted an eleventh-hour independent bid.
Tlaib became the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress and simultaneously one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, along with fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. She took the congressional oath of office on January 3, 2019, swearing in on an English-language translation of the Quran. She wore a thawb (thobe), a traditional embroidered Arab dress, to the swearing-in ceremony. This inspired a number of Palestinian and Palestinian-American women to share pictures on social media with the hashtag #TweetYourThobe.
Tlaib has said she opposed providing aid to a "Netanyahu Israel" and supported the Palestinian right of return and a one-state solution. Tlaib is one of the few members of Congress to openly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. She has defended her support of the boycott on free speech grounds and as a response to Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and settlement building, which the international community considers illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. In January 2019, she criticized anti-BDS legislation proposed by Senators Marco Rubio and Jim Risch.
Tlaib argued that boycotting is a right and that Rubio and Risch "forgot what country they represent". Tlaib's comments were criticized by several Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, which said, "Though the legislation discussed is sponsored by four non-Jewish Senators, any charge of dual loyalty has special sensitivity and resonance for Jews, particularly in an environment of rising anti-Semitism." Tlaib responded that her comments were directed at Rubio and Risch. She was one of 17 members of Congress to vote against a July 2019 House resolution condemning the BDS movement, which passed by a margin of 381 votes. Tlaib suggested boycotting HBO host Bill Maher after he denounced the BDS movement, a suggestion WJC's president Ronald Lauder compared to Adolf Hitler's policies in Nazi Germany.
On August 15, 2019, Israel decided Tlaib and her colleague Ilhan Omar would be denied entry into the country. According to The Times of Israel, Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Israel would not "allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter" and called it a "very justified decision." President Trump had pressed the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to make such a decision. The next day, Israeli authorities granted a request by Tlaib to visit her relatives in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds and under certain restrictions on political statements. But Tlaib declined to go, saying that she did not want to make the trip "under these oppressive conditions." The Israeli interior ministry stated that Tlaib had previously agreed to abide by any rules the government set in exchange for being permitted to visit the country and accused her of making a "provocative request aimed at bashing the State of Israel".
Tlaib supports efforts to impeach President Trump. In August 2016 she protested a speech Trump gave at Cobo Center and was ejected from the venue. On her first day in Congress, January 3, 2019, she called for the impeachment of Trump in an op-ed article co-authored with John Bonifaz for the Detroit Free Press. In the op-ed Tlaib differs from top Democratic leaders on how to move forward with impeachment: "Those who say we must wait for Special Counsel Mueller to complete his criminal investigation before Congress can start any impeachment proceedings ignore this crucial distinction [referring to Congressional powers of impeachment]."
Later that day Tlaib attended a reception for the MoveOn campaign and spoke on stage. She ended the speech recounting a conversation she had with her son, him saying: "Look, mama, you won. Bullies don't win." Tlaib replied to him, she recounted, "Baby, they don't, because we're gonna go in there and impeach the motherfucker." The next day at a White House press conference, Trump said, "Well, you can't impeach somebody that's doing a great job...I think she dishonored herself and I think she dishonored her family. I thought it was highly disrespectful to the United States of America."
In a radio interview with Mehdi Hasan of The Intercept, Tlaib reiterated her frequent call for Trump's impeachment, saying, "Look, it’s not a waste of time to hold the president of the United States accountable ... We need to understand our duties as members of Congress and I believe looking at even Nixon’s impeachment, or his—literally, his resignation, it was Republicans and Democrats coming together and putting country first, coming together and putting our values first. You’re seeing it now more and more. Even now, they’re standing up to Steve King."
In September 2018 The New York Times reported that Tlaib walked into her family's mosque to express her gratitude for the opportunity to run for Congress by saying "Today I was being thankful, embracing how incredibly blessed I am to grow up here, to have this tremendous opportunity...Sometimes I say 'Thank her' because my Allah is She." The Detroit Free Press reported that, although she recognizes that some in her faith community consider her not "Muslim enough", she believes that "Allah ... understands" and "knows that I am ... giving back and doing things that I think are reflective of Islam".
|Democratic||Clyde Darnell Lynch (write-in)||2||0.0|
|Democratic||Coleman Young II||11,172||12.5|
|Democratic||Kimberly Hill Knott (write-in)||33||0.0|
|Democratic||Royce Kinniebrew (write-in)||2||0.0|
|Working Class||Sam Johnson||22,186||11.3|
|Green||D. Etta Wilcoxon||7,980||4.1|
|Independent||Brenda Jones (write-in)||633||0.3|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rashida Tlaib.|
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House Representatives
from Michigan's 13th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority
Xochitl Torres Small
|116th||Senate: D. Stabenow • G. Peters||House: F. Upton • T. Walberg • J. Amash • B. Huizenga • D. Kildee • D. Dingell • B. Lawrence • J. Moolenaar • J. Bergman • P. Mitchell • A. Levin • E. Slotkin • H. Stevens • R. Tlaib|