President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE on Friday tore into Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocrats press cryptomining companies on energy consumption Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden announces green buildings initiative Tlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer MORE (D-Mich.) after she announced she would not visit her grandmother in the West Bank, citing the Israeli government's original decision to bar her from entering the country entirely.
The president, who had encouraged Israel to deny entry to Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOver 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Overnight Defense & National Security — DOD watchdog to review extremism screening MORE (D-Minn.), suggested that Tlaib had only requested permission to see her grandmother as a "setup" to further criticize the U.S. ally.
"Israel was very respectful & nice to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, allowing her permission to visit her 'grandmother,'" Trump tweeted.
"As soon as she was granted permission, she grandstanded & loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel. Could this possibly have been a setup? Israel acted appropriately!"
Trump went on to complain that Tlaib "obnoxiously" turned down the Israeli exemption to let her into the country.
"The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!" Trump tweeted.
Israel was very respectful & nice to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, allowing her permission to visit her “grandmother.” As soon as she was granted permission, she grandstanded & loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel. Could this possibly have been a setup? Israel acted appropriately!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2019
Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup. The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2019
Israel announced Thursday that it would not allow Tlaib and Omar to enter the country because of their support for the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, which advocates for boycotting Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.
The two congresswomen had openly supported the movement previously, and the announcement that Israeli officials would block the lawmakers' scheduled visit this weekend came shortly after Trump tweeted to encourage the U.S. ally to deny them entry.
Tlaib, who is Palestinian American, then sought a humanitarian exemption so that she could visit her grandmother in the West Bank. The Israeli government agreed, but Tlaib said Friday morning that she would not visit after all.
"Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me," Tlaib said in a statement. "It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice."
Trump has repeatedly targeted Tlaib and Omar — the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — and claimed they are anti-Semitic and "hate" Israel. His tweet on Thursday urging an ally to reject the visit of duly-elected U.S. officials marked a significant escalation.
Democrats widely condemned Israel's decision, arguing it could harm the relationship moving forward. Some Republicans echoed that sentiment, with a few suggesting the congresswomen should have joined in a larger delegation that visited Israel earlier this month.
For her part, Tlaib shared a story Friday that included comments from her grandmother brushing off questions about Trump and his attacks on her granddaughter. The Michigan Democrat praised her in a tweet, writing that she "always keeps it real."
My grandmother always keeps it real.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 16, 2019
"When asked about Donald Trump and his repeated attacks on her granddaughter, she brushed off the question. “I don’t know him,” she said. “I don’t care.”https://t.co/fW1oZkqRqw