Sobbing Rashida Tlaib Talks About Death Threats, Capitol Attack: 'This Is So Personal'

By Susan Jones | February 5, 2021 | 5:35am EST
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) sobs through a floor speech on the events of January 6, 2021. (Photo: Screen capture)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) sobs through a floor speech on the events of January 6, 2021. (Photo: Screen capture)

( - Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is "so personal" for her -- even though she wasn't there at the time -- because of the threats she's received since the day she took office.

At times, comforted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib told the following story:

"I asked to go last because I did -- (she cries) -- because this is so personal," Tlaib said:

This is so hard, because as many of my colleagues know, my closest colleagues know, on my very first day of orientation, I got my first death threat. It was a serious one. They took me aside, the FBI had to go to the gentleman's home.

I didn't even get sworn in yet, and someone wanted me dead for just existing. More came later -- uglier, more violent. One celebrating in writing the New Zealand massacre and hoping that more would come. Another mentioning my dear son Adam -- mentioning him by name. Each one paralyzed me each time.

So what happened on January 6, all I could do is thank Allah that I wasn't here. I felt overwhelming relief. And I feel bad for Alexandria and so many of my colleagues that were here.

But as I saw it, I thought to myself, thank God that I'm not there. I saw the images that they didn't get to see until later. My team and I decided at that point we'd keep the death threats away -- we'd try to report them, document them, to keep them away from me, because it paralyzed me.

All I wanted to do was come here and serve the people that elected me. The people that told my mother, who only had eighth grade education -- that she deserves human dignity. People that believed in me. And so it's hard.

It's hard when my seven brothers and six sisters beg me to get protection, many urging me to get a gun for the first time. And I have to tell you -- the trauma from just being here, existing, as a Muslim, is so hard.

But imagine my team, which I love, and just adore, they are diverse. I have LGBTQ staff, I have the beautiful Muslim that wears her hijab proudly in the halls, I have black women that are so proud to be here to serve their country.

And I worry every day for their lives because of this rhetoric. I never thought that they would feel unsafe here,

And so I ask my colleagues to please try not to dehumanize what's happening. This is real. And you know, many of our residents -- from the shootings in Charlottesville, too, the massacre at the synagogue, all of it -- all of it is led by hate rhetoric like this. And so I urge my colleagues to please, please take what happened on January 6 seriously. It will lead to more death and we can do better. We must do better.

Thank you.

A short time later, Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) gave a fiery speech about her experience on January 6, blaming white supremacy:

"We can't build a better society if members are too scared to stand up and reject the white supremacist attack that happened before our eyes. How can we trust that you'll address the suffering white supremacy causes on a day-to-day basis in the shadows if you can't address the white supremacy that happens right in front of you in your House? Does your silence speak to your agreement?" Bush asked her Republican colleagues."

Bush said the Capitol was attacked "by a domestic enemy called white supremacy," and she demanded that "every single person who helped incite" the invasion be held "accountable."

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