Tlaib targets centrist Democrats: 'I can't be silent'

Tlaib targets centrist Democrats: 'I can't be silent'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators House passes spending bill to boost Capitol Police and Hill staffer pay Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy MORE (D-Mich.) targeted centrist Democrats in a new interview, accusing them of silencing progressive values and saying she "can’t be silent."   

“We're not going to be successful if we're silencing districts like mine,” Tlaib told Politico. “Me not being able to speak on behalf of many of my neighbors right now, many of which are Black neighbors, means me being silenced. I can't be silent.”

Tlaib, who was just reelected to her seat, said the progressive wing of the party is not interested in unity if it means people have to give up their freedom and rights, and that it is important to “really respect every voice” to unify the country. 

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“We say that so willingly when we talk about Trump supporters, but we don't say that willingly for my Black and brown neighbors and from LGBTQ neighbors or marginalized people,” Tlaib said.

Her comments come amid infighting between moderate and progressive Democrats following the 2020 election. While Democrats retained the House, they lost seats as opposed to expanding their majority as expected. 

After Democrats underperformed expectations on Election Day, moderate House Democrats lashed out at their liberal colleagues in a caucus-wide conference call for advancing an agenda that, they say, cost the party a number of seats.

Party leaders thought they would pick up seats, even in deep red districts that President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE won in 2016. Instead, Republicans knocked off at least seven incumbents, most of whom were first-term lawmakers who helped the Democrats win a majority just two years ago.

Tlaib also told Politico that President-elect Biden's supporters “deserve to be heard,” adding that it’s hard to believe people are asking them to stay silent. 

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"If [voters] can walk past blighted homes and school closures and pollution to vote for Biden-Harris, when they feel like they don't have anything else, they deserve to be heard,” Tlaib said, choking up as she expressed frustration near the end of an interview this week. “I can’t believe that people are asking them to be quiet.”

Her comments follow similar remarks from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: 'More than enough' votes to prevent infrastructure from passing without reconciliation bill Manchin: 'I can't really guarantee anybody' reconciliation package will pass Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE (D-N.Y.), another notable progressive in the party. In a New York Times interview, she expressed doubts about remaining in politics due to a lack of support from the Democratic Party.

“It’s your own party thinking you’re the enemy. When your own colleagues talk anonymously in the press and then turn around and say you’re bad because you actually append your name to your opinion,” she told the newspaper.