Rep. Tlaib Says She ‘Won’t Be Silent’ After Clash With Centrist Democrats, As Progressives Circulate Memo Calling Them All ‘Racist’

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib criticized centrists for their apprehension toward supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and defunding the police after it appeared voters were not receptive to these messages, Politico reported.

After House Democrats lost several House seats, moderates blamed their liberal colleagues during a private conference call for touting far-left views that made it easy for Republicans to portray them all as radical leftists. Tlaib clashed with her colleagues, accusing them of only being interested in appealing to White people in the suburbs, according to the Washington Post. Tlaib said she refuses to be silent about her views, even if they may alienate voters. (RELATED: ‘We Have A Mandate!’: Pelosi Reportedly Hammers Distraught, Beleaguered House Dems)

Progressive groups also accused centrists of playing into Republicans’ “divide-and-conquer racism” in a post-election memo, according to Politico, and commended Tlaib for her outreach to communities of color.

“Despite an obvious preference by Democratic leadership to focus on the suburbs and former Republican voters rather than working-class communities of color, progressives like Stacey Abrams, Rep. Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib are showing us – through turnout results in their states and cities – where Democrats must invest to build the party,” the memo says.

“We’re not going to be successful if we’re silencing districts like mine,” Tlaib said, according to 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.” 

“We are not interested in unity that asks people to sacrifice their freedom and their rights any longer,” Tlaib continued. “And if we truly want to unify our country, we have to really respect every single voice. 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.”

Progressives are pushing for power in the Joe Biden administration, despite the criticism from moderate Democrats. Tlaib reportedly wants to see a public educator and labor advocates in top positions. Progressives and left-wing strategists don’t want Biden to work across the aisle with Republicans, although Biden has expressed his desire to create a sense of unity by doing so.

“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.”

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling for an “unapologetic agenda” that is distinct from the GOP “instead of trying to play to notions of civility,” Politico reported. Specifically, Ocasio-Cortez wants the Democratic Party to establish a cohesive message on racism because “Democrats don’t want to talk about race.”

Following the election, Speaker of the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats that their party has “a mandate” after being called out by her colleagues in a caucus phone call for losing a number of House seats. 

Virginia Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger was reportedly the most vocal, causing Pelosi to fire back saying Democrats have a “mandate.”

“We lost races we shouldn’t have lost. Defund police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t say socialism ever again,” Spanberger reportedly said. Adding that the party needs “to get back to basics.” Spanberger then reportedly said that “if we run this race again we will get fucking torn apart again in 2022.”

Pelosi reportedly then disagreed with Spanberger’s comments, saying she is happy they kept a majority in the House. “We have a mandate!” Pelosi reportedly said before getting off the phone call.

If “we are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we’re not going to win,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said, according to Politico.