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Rep.-Elect Rashida Tlaib Says She Will Work To Get Trump 'To Follow The Law'

Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., pauses to speak to media as she walks from member-elect briefings and orientation on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., pauses to speak to media as she walks from member-elect briefings and orientation on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
This article is more than 4 years old.

One of the members of the incoming freshman class in the House of Representatives is Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat representing Michigan's 13th Congressional District.

She is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, alongside Minnesota Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar. During her campaign, Tlaib called for abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson she is prepared to work with President Trump on "getting him to follow the law."

"I can do that as a member of Congress," she says. "He should expect that from me, because that's how we balance government."

Interview Highlights

On how migrants attempting to cross into the U.S. from Tijuana, Mexico, at the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry was handled

"Obviously it shouldn't have been handled that way. ... Some of the visuals I've seen has been clearly just the inhumanity of how we're addressing people that are seeking some sort of safe haven. Our country has always been, when you thought about immigration, in many ways, for years it was always about family unification, about safe haven, about freedom and all of those things that I think we constantly hear from heads of our country, that that's why we go to war, is to continue supporting democracy and freedom and all these things. But then we go ahead and tear gas children and cage them up and separate them from families."

On whether the U.S. should grant asylum to all of those seeking asylum at the border

"They deserve a chance to apply. There's a process in place. I was an immigration attorney for almost 2 1/2 years, I remember the process that you go through — it's a rigorous process. But everyone had an equal access to that process, if they did it right. By them coming to the border and claiming it, I mean they have every right to claim asylum. All I'm asking is that we go back to fairness and the rule of law. We can't just sit there and allow our president to act above the law. To me, it's dictatorship."

On working with President Trump

"It's really hard to work with someone that doesn't understand the rule of law, taking his powers beyond what is permitted. I'm a lawyer, so obstruction of justice is huge for me, and so it's really difficult to be someone that's going to say, 'I'm going to work with President Trump,' when the integrity is not there, the trust level is not there. I will do everything in my power to make sure my families feel like they have a seat at the table. But it will be very hard when the president is speaking about poor people and Muslims and others in the way that he does, it really takes the ... ability to be able to work across the aisle away."

On whether she supports Nancy Pelosi's bid to become Speaker of the House

"I think the American people need to understand: There is no one else running against her in the Democratic caucus. And we can continue saying if we're going to support her or not, I'm not sure what the strategy here is. I can tell you that my conversations have always been around the issues, and people are still taken aback by the fact that I have the third-poorest congressional district, and I want this opportunity, when we talk about leadership, to talk about those issues, because that is the only time that I feel like people are going to hear me in a way that will make a difference, and make my families feel like they have a voice at the table."

On what scares her the most as she prepares to enter Congress

"I want to be able to transform people's lives, and it's such a short period of time for us to hit the ground running. So my biggest fear is the time. These are years that I can't get back for my residents, and I need to be able to hit the ground running, get things done [as] quickly as possible.

" ... I ran because I work extremely hard, and I didn't want to be on the outside ring and I wanted to be on the inside to make those changes. I want it to be done quickly and effectively, and done in a way that is, to me, brings in a lot of new voices that have been elected to Congress at the table. I really think just alone, clearing out the room and just putting the moms — Republican and Democratic moms — in a room, probably in a few hours we'd probably fix the gun crisis, because we're so much more focused as mothers, not as Democrats or Republicans. I want us to move quickly."

Jill Ryan produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Jack Mitchell adapted it for the web.

This segment aired on November 27, 2018.


Jeremy Hobson Former Co-Host, Here & Now
Before coming to WBUR to co-host Here & Now, Jeremy Hobson hosted the Marketplace Morning Report, a daily business news program with an audience of more than six million.



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