Muslim congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib says she 'truly believes' Trump is a racist

Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDems concerned impeachment will make Trump 'appear like a victim,' says pollster Officials dismiss criticism that Trump rhetoric to blame for New Zealand attack Tlaib: Trump needs to send a 'very loud and clear' signal against domestic terrorism, white supremacy MORE (D-Mich.) said Thursday that there’s no doubt in her mind that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE is a racist, citing his rhetoric and policies.

“Look, I truly believe he is racist — and that’s probably controversial — he is,” Tlaib told Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons during a “Rising” interview.

“It’s in his policies, it’s in his words, and the fact of the matter is that he’s still our president ... but it doesn’t matter, I’m going to hold him accountable,” she continued.

Tlaib is one of two Muslim women elected to serve in the next Congress, along with Rep.-elect Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarAlan Dershowitz: In defense of Chelsea Clinton Hateful words demand stronger response from Congress, President Trump Omar: Peace only achievable when we 'apply our universal values to all nations' MORE (D-Minn.). She's also the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress.

Democrats have repeatedly criticized Trump for engaging in racially charged or racist rhetoric. 

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) criticized him for "dogwhistle racism" for critical remarks about three black reporters over the fall.

In November, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE criticized as "dog whistle politics" a Trump midterm advertisement, rejected by major networks, that showed images of a Mexican man who entered the U.S. illegally and was sentenced to death for the murder of two police officers. The ad blamed Democrats for the Mexican citizen being in the United States. 

Trump has also come under criticism for remarks deemed racially insensitive about NBA superstar Lebron James, and for his equivocal comments casting blame on Nazis and those protesting them during 2017 demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., that turned violent. 

Tlaib said that she has no idea what's driving Trump’s rhetoric, saying lawmakers and the public alike are often baffled by his constant tweets on social media.

“There’s so much, even when I watch national media outlets, it’s baffling because we’re all guessing like what is in his mind, what do you think that tweet was about,” she told Hill.TV.

— Tess Bonn