Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is among the group of young, female Democrats who came to Washington energized in the new moment of Democratic power. Tlaib is one of the first two female Muslim members of Congress, but her prominence has made her a target for hate-filled advocates.
During a hearing on white supremacy on Tuesday, Tlaib read some of the death threats that she has received. The Michigan lawmaker grew emotional reading the letter, in which the author wrote that they were happy to hear about the New Zealand shooting.
Tlaib asked Michael McGarrity, who serves as an assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division in the FBI, why the letter she received isn’t enough to constitute domestic terrorism.
She said, “We get so many of [these death threats] and I keep asking ‘what happens, what happens to these individuals’ […] I’m a mother, so I want to go home to my two boys.”
Here’s a clip of Tlaib’s remarks:
Hate crimes have been constantly on the rise over the past few years, increasing steadily. And white nationalism is also a problem in the United States — less than one year removed from the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.
The government seems to be aware of their shortcoming in these areas; during the hearing, one official told Tlaib “we know we’re not doing enough.”
This wasn’t the first white nationalism hearing that Congress has held, during a hearing in early April, the House held a hearing on the issue and it got ugly. YouTube had to disable comments on the live stream of the video because they were immediately swamped with hate speech.
Sometimes, law enforcement is able to catch the people behind these threats. Recently, a New York man was arrested for threatening Rep. Ilhan Omar.