Speaking during a town hall event with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refused to chastise her colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) for using expletives and stating her desires to file impeachment charges against President Donald Trump.
Pelosi pointed out that impeachment “is not the position of the Democratic caucus” at this time, according to video from MSNBC.
The language that Tlaib used — reportedly saying that she wanted to see the “motherf***er,” meaning Trump, impeached — was not the kind Pelosi said she would’ve used herself. However, her objection to the wording that Tlaib employed was more of a “generational” difference, the speaker said, pointing out that she is a grandmother who wouldn’t personally use the same verbiage.
Pelosi explained in her commentary on Tlaib’s statement that as Speaker of the House, she isn’t “in the censorship business.”
“I wouldn’t use that language. I don’t establish any language standards for my colleague. But I don’t think it’s any worse than what the president has said” in the past, Pelosi said.
Indeed, as reporting from Vox pointed out earlier in the week, the president has regularly used vulgarities and language some would deem offensive. He recently called a woman a “horseface,” used words like “s**t” and “f***” at campaign trail rallies in 2016, and was caught on camera audio footage bragging about sexually harassing women.
Nancy Pelosi says Rep. Tlaib's impeach the MFer comment is no worse than language that Trump has used. pic.twitter.com/KuXT3Xk5tT— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) January 4, 2019
Pelosi also elaborated on the sexist component on the issue of Tlaib’s comments. “If she were a man would they be making a fuss right now?” she asked Reid.
Trump’s use of expletives has followed him into the White House, as sources as recently as Friday said he was engaging individuals with them — including Pelosi herself, during a meeting between the president and leaders from Congress that had assembled to tackle the government shutdown impasse. And although that meeting was set to discuss that subject, Trump couldn’t help himself and went on a rant that included several subjects.
Tlaib’s comments toward the president were part of that rant, the Inquisitr reported later on Saturday. Trump allegedly blamed Pelosi for Tlaib’s comments against him, to which Pelosi responded she isn’t responsible for the comments of individual lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are part of her caucus.
Decorum rules in the U.S. House of Representatives, which Pelosi leads in her role of Speaker of the House, dictate that members can be punished or censured if they use bad language. “Members have been cautioned against the use of vulgarity or profanity in debate,” according to the House’s Committee on Rules website.
Tlaib’s comments toward Trump would likely have required the Rules Committee to consider them had they occurred while Congress was at work. However, Tlaib was speaking at a MoveOn event when she made her statement and is thus outside of the purview of the House rules.