Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over the weekend accused Democratic Party leadership of exploiting Muslim lawmakers, only using them to bolster the party's image of diversity, yet silencing them at the legislative drawing board.
What did she say?
Amid controversy between President Donald Trump and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) — stemming from the president criticizing remarks Omar made recently when she refused to denounce the 9/11 attackers as terrorists — Tlaib launched a broadside at her party's leadership.
The Michigan lawmaker is seemingly upset over what she believes is a failure by Democratic leadership to properly condemn Omar's critics.
"They put us in photos when they want to show our party is diverse. However, when we ask to be at the table, or speak up about issues that impact who we are, what we fight for & why we ran in the first place, we are ignored," Tlaib charged. "To truly honor our diversity is to never silence us."
Tlaib echoed comments from Maheen Ahmed, a legislative staffer in the California Assembly. Ahmed charged that the failure from Democratic leadership to defend Omar and "subsequent lack of support from Democratic leadership continues to prove that this system was never meant for us."
"Do not applaud diversity and the 'first' Muslims in any space if you're not willing to be a true ally and defend us," Ahmed said.
Tlaib and Omar are the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress.
What has Democratic leadership said?
As Tlaib noted, party leaders have been somewhat muted on the issue. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned Trump for using 9/11 footage in his Omar criticism video — yet did not rebuke the president for criticizing Omar.
Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, though he initially dodged questions, rebuked the president over the weekend.
On the other hand, Democrats running for president — including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, and others — forcefully rebuked the president, even accusing Trump of inciting violence against Omar.