Dems split in response to 'impeach the motherf---er' comment

Democrats were split Sunday in their reactions to Rep. Rashida Tlaib's (D-Mich.) pledge to “impeach the motherf---er" in the White House, with the remark drawing both criticism and defenders on the Sunday show circuit.

Red-state Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) on Sunday followed the lead set last week by top Democrats who condemned the comment. Others — including Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) — dismissed criticism of Tlaib as over the top. 

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Tlaib made the vow while speaking Thursday to a group of supporters, saying that Democrats were going to "go in there and impeach the motherf---er" in reference to President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE.

The comment was quickly condemned by Democratic leaders in Congress, with lawmakers including Rep. Wm. Lacy ClayWilliam (Lacy) Lacy ClayThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Pressley: Democrats don't need 'any more black faces that don't want to be a black voice' Ocasio-Cortez's racism charge shows Pelosi at risk of being devoured by the revolution MORE (D-Mo.) and House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens House poised to hold Barr, Ross in contempt Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer MORE (D-Md.) calling it "inappropriate." 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Al Green: 'We have the opportunity to punish' Trump with impeachment vote MORE (D-Calif.), meanwhile, said of the remark that "I wouldn’t use that language” but that she is "not in the censorship business.”

She added that impeachment is "not the position of the House Democratic Caucus.”

Democratic leadership has been hesitant to call for the impeachment of Trump, instead arguing that Democrats should wait for the conclusion of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Jones said Sunday during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" that "even the most progressive" of his constituents would "know better than to use that kind of language."

"They know better than to use that kind of language about the president of the United States, regardless of the coarse language that the president uses in public," he said.

Jones added that Democrats in Congress, who now control the House, should focus on "their job of oversight."

"That's what we need to be looking at, first and foremost, and not get bogged down in anything in personal and attacks and overreach," he said. "Let's go about this the way we need to, and not just work out of this out of frustration and anger."

Other Democrats on Sunday called on Democrats not to jump to impeachment, though they were less directly critical of Tlaib.

Without specifically addressing Tlaib, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called talks of impeachment a "distraction."

"We’ll have to see what the Mueller report says," he added during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Freshman Rep. Max RoseMax RoseHouse Dems, Senate GOP build money edge to protect majorities Ocasio-Cortez sued over Twitter blocks The Hill's Morning Report — Harris brings her A game to Miami debate MORE (D-N.Y.) took a similar stance during a panel on CBS's "Face the Nation." Rose, noting that he's from Staten Island, said he has "no problem with profanity" but said he objects to calls for impeachment before Mueller's investigation is complete.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJudge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media The peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Trump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify MORE (D-Calif.), appearing on "State of the Union," also said Congress needs "to see what Bob Mueller has to say" and called it "premature" for Democrats to come to conclusions about Trump's fate.

But Schiff also defended Tlaib against attacks from Republicans and Trump, who said last week that Tlaib "dishonored" her family. 

Schiff said Trump is "not in a position to talk about the use of language."

"Nobody has done more to debase the political sphere, the public square than Donald Trump," he added.

Tlaib had other defenders among her party.

Schiff's comments follow a strong defense by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) over the weekend. Ocasio-Cortez called Republicans hypocrites for defending Trump after his "admitting to sexual assault on tape" and accused the GOP "scandalizing themselves into faux-outrage" over Tlaib's remark.

Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing Critics slam billion Facebook fine as weak MORE (D-R.I.) on Sunday also rejected GOP criticism of Tlaib and said Tlaib "has a right" to use profane language in private. The remark was made at a private event.

Speaking during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cicilline called it "odd" for Republicans to attack Tlaib, contrasting it to some of Trump's disparaging remarks.

"It’s kind of odd to hear people on the Republican side who have not condemned the president’s language in a million different contexts to suddenly be clutching their pearls over her use of that language," Cicilline said on "Fox News Sunday."

"This was at a private event, she can use whatever language she thinks is appropriate," he added. "The fundamental issue is Democrats are fighting for the people of this country. We’re going to focus on issues that matter in their lives, and we’re going to do our oversight responsibilities in a serious way."