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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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 TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE.

The comment was quickly condemned by Democratic leaders in Congress, with lawmakers including Rep. Wm. Lacy ClayWilliam (Lacy) Lacy ClayCohen details methods to get Trump ranked higher on Forbes list Live coverage: Cohen clashes with GOP over Trump allegations Dems accused of MeToo hypocrisy in Virginia MORE (D-Mo.) and House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse Dems renew push for government contractor back pay Cummings demands ex-Fox News reporter share information on Stormy Daniels payments The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies first veto after latest clash with Senate GOP MORE (D-Md.) calling it "inappropriate." 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiRisk-averse Republicans are failing the republic The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight Trump, Saturday Night Live and why autocrats can't take a joke 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 Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 RoseThe importance of moderate voters The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority House Dem vets press McConnell on emergency declaration 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 SchiffDems request probe into spa owner suspected of trying to sell access to Trump Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies first veto after latest clash with Senate GOP 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 CicillineEU fines Google .7B over advertising agreements On The Money: Liberal groups pressure Dems over Trump's tax returns | Top Trump economist says tax cuts powering economy | Trump Jr. slams Theresa May over Brexit delay | Watchdog warns of 'rosy' assumptions in Trump budget Hillicon Valley: Nunes sues Twitter for 0 million | Trump links tech giants to 'Radical Left Democrats' | Facebook settles suits over ad discrimination | Dems want answers over spread of New Zealand shooting video 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."