More than 200,000 individuals have signed an internet petition calling for the impeachment of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) in response to her saying recently that “we’re going to impeach the [expletive],” referring to President Donald Trump.
Tlaib made headlines Jan. 4 with her remark to a rally of supporters. Tlaib, one of two recently elected Muslim woman members of the House of Representatives—Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is the other—has since refused to apologize for her remark.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declined Republican demands that Tlaib be disciplined, saying: “I don’t like that language. I wouldn’t use that language, but I don’t think it’s anything worse than what the president has said.”
Karen Baron of Jupiter, Florida, was so upset by Tlaib’s remark that she turned to Change.org, a social media site where people seeking all kinds of political, social, and other kinds of change post petitions.
Using the name “Mrs. American Citizen,” Baron posted a petition demanding Tlaib’s impeachment and multiple other actions aimed at the Dearborn-based congresswoman.
“Her words and actions are unprofessional, to say the least, using profanity and hate-filled rhetoric against our country, our citizens, and our president,” the petition stated.
“The goal of this petition is to gather enough signatures to bring her traitorous actions against the United States into public view, so that we may initiate an investigation into her background, and end her political career.”
The petition has been up a week and, at last count, had more than 205,000 signatures. A spokesman for Tlaib did not respond to multiple telephone messages seeking comment on the petition.
Besides Tlaib’s impeachment, the petition also demands:
- Recounts of “every vote that she supposedly received” in both the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 13th congressional seat and the Nov. 6 general election.
- A “full list of all campaign contributions” Tlaib received in her successful campaign.
- Investigation of her alleged ties to radical Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Tlaib is of Palestinian origin.
Baron, who is listed on the petition as its sponsor, could not be reached for comment, but her petition won’t prompt the House of Representatives to impeach Tlaib. The House could have refused to seat the Michigan Democrat before she was sworn into office by Pelosi, but no such moves were made.
Now that Tlaib has been sworn-in, the only possible disciplinary consequence is a censure motion passed by the House, something that is not likely to happen with a Democratic majority.
As a result, only the voters of her district can remove Tlaib, but not before the 2020 election, assuming she seeks a second term. Voters there are long accustomed to being represented in the nation’s capital by a controversial Democrat because Tlaib succeeded Rep. John Conyers.
Conyers, a former chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, was a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and represented the Detroit-area district for more than five decades. He retired Dec. 5, 2018, before the end of his last term, amid allegations of sexual harassment by former staff members.
Change.org has itself been the focus of controversy since its 2007 founding as a nonprofit devoted to linking individuals to causes they want to support.
The organization changed to a for-profit model in 2010. Today, the site seeks members willing to donate at least $5 a month to keep it going, using ads like one displayed on the Tlaib impeachment petition saying:
“Politicians and rich CEOs shouldn’t make all the decisions. Today we ask you to help keep Change.org free and independent. Our job as a public benefit company is to help petitions like this one fight back and get heard.
“If everyone who saw this chipped in monthly, we’d secure Change.org’s future today. Help us hold the powerful to account. Can you spare a minute to become a member today?”
The headline on the ad read “Keep Fighting for People Power.”
The large number of signatures on the petition puts it among the biggest ever on Change.org, which estimates that only “the top 0.05% of petitions have thousands … of signatures, with a few reaching several million signatures.”
The company claims “more than 100,000 organizations are advancing their causes and connecting with new supporters,” as well as journalists sourcing “powerful stories,” by using the petition site.
Among the top petitions listed under “Shutdown” on Change.org is one with more than 114,000 signers that calls for the president, White House staff, and members of Congress to not be paid while the government is closed.
A second petition that calls for no paychecks to senators and representatives during shutdowns has more than 342,000 signatures.