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Rashida Tlaib
Rashida Tlaib, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Official portrait, 2019
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded by Brenda Jones
  • 13th district (2019–2023)
  • 12th district (2023–present)
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
In office
January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2014
Preceded by Steve Tobocman
Succeeded by Stephanie Chang
Constituency 12th district (2009–2012)
6th district (2013–2014)
Personal details
Rashida Harbi

(1976-07-24) July 24, 1976 (age 47)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Other political
Democratic Socialists of America
Fayez Tlaib
(m. 1998; div. 2015)
Children 2
Education Wayne State University (BA)
Thomas M. Cooley Law School (JD)

Rashida Harbi Tlaib (/təˈlb/ -leeb; born July 24, 1976) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the U.S. representative for MI's 12th congressional district.

A member of the Democratic Party, Tlaib represented the 6th and 12th districts in the Michigan House of Representatives before her election to Congress. In 2018, she won the Democratic nomination for the United States House of Representatives in Michigan's 13th congressional district. She ran unopposed in the general election and became the first woman of Palestinian descent in Congress, the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan legislature, and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress (the other being Ilhan Omar). Tlaib is a member of The Squad, an informal group of eight (four until the 2020 elections) U.S. representatives on the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are the first female members of Democratic Socialists of America to serve in Congress. Tlaib has argued in favor of abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She was a vocal critic of the Trump administration and advocated for Trump's impeachment. On foreign affairs, she is sharply critical of the government of Israel, has called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel, supports a one-state solution, and supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.

Early life and education

The eldest of 14 children, Rashida Harbi was born on July 24, 1976, to working-class Palestinian immigrants in Detroit. Her mother was born in Beit Ur El Foka, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. The name Rashida means "righteous". Her father was born in Beit Hanina, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem. He moved first to Nicaragua, then to Detroit. He worked on an assembly line in a Ford Motor Company plant. As the eldest, Tlaib played a role in raising her siblings while her parents worked.

Tlaib attended elementary school at Harms, Bennett Elementary, and Phoenix Academy. She graduated from Southwestern High School in Detroit in 1994. Tlaib received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Wayne State University in 1998 and her Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2004. Tlaib was admitted to the bar in 2007.

Michigan House of Representatives

Tlaib began her political career in 2004 when she interned with State Representative Steve Tobocman. When Tobocman became Majority Floor Leader in 2007, he hired Tlaib to his staff. In 2008 Tobocman encouraged Tlaib to run for his seat, which he was vacating due to term limits. The urban district is 40% Hispanic, 25% African-American, 30% non-Hispanic white Americans, and 2% Arab American. Tlaib faced a crowded primary that included several Latinos, including former State Representative Belda Garza. She emerged victorious, carrying 44% of the vote in the eight-way Democratic primary and winning the general election with over 90% of the vote.

In 2010, Tlaib faced a primary election challenge from Jim Czachorowski in his first bid for office. Tlaib picked up 85% of the vote to Czachorowski's 15%, and won the general election with 92% of the vote against Republican challenger Darrin Daigle.

In 2012, Tlaib won reelection to the Michigan House in the newly redrawn 6th district. Tlaib faced fellow incumbent Maureen Stapleton in the Democratic primary and defeated her, 52%–45%. She won the general election with 92% of the vote against Republican nominee Darrin Daigle. Tlaib could not run for the Michigan House a fourth time in 2014 because of term limits; instead, she ran for the Michigan Senate, losing to incumbent Senator Virgil Smith Jr. in the 2014 Democratic primary, 50%–42%.

Tlaib is the first Muslim woman to serve as a member of the Michigan State Legislature. She is also the second Muslim woman (after Jamilah Nasheed of Missouri) to serve in a state legislature nationwide.

After leaving the state legislature, Tlaib worked at Sugar Law Center, a Detroit nonprofit that provides free legal representation for workers.

U.S. House of Representatives

Rashida Tlaib is seen at her campaign headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, Aug.7 2018
Tlaib at her campaign headquarters, 2018


2018 special

In 2018, Tlaib announced her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in Michigan's 13th congressional district. ..... Tlaib filed in both the Democratic primary in the special election for the balance of Conyers's 27th term and in the general election for a full two-year term.

As of July 16, 2018, Tlaib had raised $893,030 in funds, more than her five opponents in the August 7 Democratic primary. Tlaib, as a member of the Justice Democrats, made a guest appearance on the political interview show Rebel HQ of the progressive media network The Young Turks (TYT).

In the Democratic primary for the special election, Tlaib finished second to Detroit City Council president Brenda Jones, who received 32,727 votes (37.7% of the total) to Tlaib's 31,084 (35.9%). Bill Wild, mayor of Westland, received 13,152 votes (15.2%) and Ian Conyers, the great-nephew of former Congressman Conyers, took fourth with 9,740 (11.2%).

In the Democratic primary for the general election, Tlaib defeated five other candidates. She received 27,803 votes, or 31.2%.

2018 general

Tlaib faced no major-party opposition in November 2018, though Jones mounted an eleventh-hour write-in bid. On Election Day, Tlaib became the first Palestinian-American woman to be elected to Congress.


Jones challenged Tlaib in the 2020 Democratic primary. Tlaib won, 66%–34%, spending over $2,000,000 in campaign funds to Jones's $140,000.


In 2022, following redistricting, Tlaib sought reelection in Michigan's newly drawn 12th congressional district. She won the Democratic primary with 64% of the vote over three challengers, and the general election with 71% of the vote over Republican Steven Elliott and Gary Walkowicz of the Working Class Party.


Along with fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Tlaib is one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. She took the congressional oath of office on January 3, 2019, swearing in on an English-language translation of the Quran. She wore a thawb (thobe), a traditional embroidered Arab dress, to the swearing-in ceremony. This inspired a number of Palestinian and Palestinian-American women to share pictures on social media with the hashtag #TweetYourThobe.

House Ethics Committee investigation

On November 14, 2019, the House Ethics Committee announced that it was investigating whether Tlaib used congressional campaign money for personal expenses in violation of House rules. In August 2020 the committee directed Tlaib to reimburse her campaign $10,800, stating that Tlaib has an "obligation to act in accordance with the strict technical requirements of federal campaign laws and regulations, including the restrictions on personal use of campaign funds".

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Tlaib has said she opposed providing aid to a "Netanyahu Israel" and supported the Palestinian right of return and a one-state solution. In 2018, J Street withdrew its endorsement of Tlaib due to her support for a one-state solution. J Street stated that she had misled it about her views on the issue during her primary campaign. Tlaib is one of the few members of Congress to openly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. She has defended her support of the boycott on free speech grounds and as a response to Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and settlement building, which the international community considers illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. In January 2019, she criticized anti-BDS legislation proposed by Senators Marco Rubio and Jim Risch. In December 2019, the Simon Wiesenthal Center placed Tlaib and Ilhan Omar at #5 on their list of what the center alleges to be the top ten anti-Semitic incidents of the year, citing their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and other statements.

Tlaib argued that boycotting is a right and that Rubio and Risch "forgot what country they represent". Tlaib's comments were criticized by several groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, which said, "Though the legislation discussed is sponsored by four non-Jewish Senators, any charge of dual loyalty has special sensitivity and resonance for Jews, particularly in an environment of rising anti-Semitism." Tlaib responded that her comments were directed at Rubio and Risch, not the Jewish American community. She was one of 17 members of Congress to vote against a July 2019 House resolution condemning the BDS movement, which passed by a margin of 381 votes. Tlaib suggested boycotting HBO host Bill Maher after he denounced the BDS movement.

In March 2020, Tlaib spoke at a gala for American Muslims for Palestine, a group that supports an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, equality for Arab Israelis, and a right of return for Palestinian refugees. The Anti-Defamation League has argued that the group holds extreme anti-Israel views and provides a cover for antisemitism; AMP denies this and states that it opposes antisemitism.

In December 2020, Tlaib deleted a retweet she had posted a few days earlier, on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, containing the phrase "From the River to the Sea" – a nationalist Palestinian slogan associated with calls for Israel's elimination in the past.

On September 23, 2021, Tlaib called Israel an "apartheid state" on the House floor during a debate over funding for Iron Dome; Representative Ted Deutch responded by accusing Tlaib of antisemitism.

Ban from entering Israel

On August 15, 2019, Israel announced that Tlaib and her colleague Ilhan Omar would be denied entry into the country. According to The Times of Israel, Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Israel would not "allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter" and called it a "very justified decision." It was reported that President Trump had pressed the government of Benjamin Netanyahu to make such a decision. The next day, Israeli authorities granted a request by Tlaib to visit her relatives in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds and under certain restrictions on political statements. Tlaib declined to go, saying that she did not want to make the trip "under these oppressive conditions." The Israeli interior ministry stated that Tlaib had previously agreed to abide by any rules their government had set in exchange for being permitted to visit the country, and accused her of making a "provocative request aimed at bashing the State of Israel".

In August 2019, following the decision of Israel to ban them from arriving in the country, Tlaib and Ilhan Omar retweeted a cartoon by Carlos Latuff, whose cartoons has been accused of using anti-Semitic tropes. The Anti-Defamation League, Jerry Nadler, and other Jewish groups condemned them for sharing it.

Saudi Arabia

Tlaib has criticized Saudi Arabia's human rights violations and the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.

Trump administration

Tlaib supported the efforts to impeach President Trump. In August 2016, she protested a speech Trump gave at Cobo Center and was ejected from the venue. On her first day in Congress, January 3, 2019, she published an op-ed with John Bonifaz in which she argued that it was not necessary to wait for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to complete his criminal investigation before proceeding with impeachment.

..... Trump retorted that her comments were "highly disrespectful to the United States of America".

In a radio interview with Mehdi Hasan of The Intercept, Tlaib reiterated her call for Trump's impeachment.

Democratic Party

Tlaib, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, aligns politically with the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Domestic policy

She supports domestic reforms, including Medicare for All and a $18 to $20 hourly minimum wage. On November 5, 2021, Tlaib was one of six House Democrats to break with their party and vote against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act because it was decoupled from the social safety net provisions in the Build Back Better Act.


Tlaib was an early supporter of the movement to abolish the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency. In June 2019 she was one of four Democratic representatives to vote against the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act, a $4.5 billion border funding bill that required Customs and Border Protection enact health standards for individuals in custody such as forming standards for individuals for "medical emergencies; nutrition, hygiene, and facilities; and personnel training."

Law enforcement

Tlaib has called for the abolition of the police and incarceration. She has called American policing "inherently and intentionally racist", saying, "No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can't be reformed." Detroit police chief James Craig called Tlaib's comments "disgusting".

Personal life

In 1998, at the age of 22, Tlaib married Fayez Tlaib. They have two sons, Adam and Yousif. The couple have since divorced. In 2018, a campaign spokesperson referred to Tlaib as a single mother.

In September 2018, The New York Times reported that Tlaib walked into her family's mosque to express her gratitude for the opportunity to run for Congress, articulating a belief that "my Allah is She". The Detroit Free Press reported that, although she recognizes that some in her faith community consider her not "Muslim enough", she believes that Allah understands that she deems her actions "reflective of Islam".

Electoral history

2018 Michigan's 13th congressional district special election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brenda Jones 32,769 37.8
Democratic Rashida Tlaib 31,121 35.8
Democratic Bill Wild 13,174 15.2
Democratic Ian Conyers 9,749 11.2
Democratic Clyde Darnell Lynch (write-in) 2 0.0
Total votes 86,815 100.0
2018 Michigan's 13th congressional district regular election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Rashida Tlaib 27,841 31.2
Democratic Brenda Jones 26,941 30.2
Democratic Bill Wild 12,613 14.1
Democratic Coleman Young II 11,172 12.5
Democratic Ian Conyers 5,866 6.6
Democratic Shanelle Jackson 4,853 5.4
Democratic Kimberly Hill Knott (write-in) 33 0.0
Democratic Royce Kinniebrew (write-in) 2 0.0
Total votes 89,321 100.0
General election
Democratic Rashida Tlaib 165,355 84.2
Working Class Sam Johnson 22,186 11.3
Green D. Etta Wilcoxon 7,980 4.1
Independent Brenda Jones (write-in) 633 0.3
N/A Other write-ins 145 0.1
Total votes 196,299 100.0
Democratic hold
2020 Michigan's 13th congressional district election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Rashida Tlaib (incumbent) 71,703 66.3
Democratic Brenda Jones 36,493 33.7
Total votes 108,196 100.0
General election
Democratic Rashida Tlaib (incumbent) 223,205 78.1
Republican David Dudenhoefer 53,311 18.7
Working Class Sam Johnson 5,284 1.8
Green D. Etta Wilcoxon 2,105 0.7
Constitution Articia Bomer 1,974 0.7
Independent Donald Eason (write-in) 6 0.0
Total votes 285,885 100.0
Democratic hold

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Rashida Tlaib para niños

  • List of Arab and Middle Eastern Americans in the United States Congress
  • List of Democratic Socialists of America who have held office in the United States
  • List of Muslim members of the United States Congress
  • The Squad (United States Congress)
  • Women in the United States House of Representatives
  • List of United States representatives expelled, censured, or reprimanded
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