Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar Hold Hands During ‘Triggering’ Moments of Trump’s SOTU Speech

Representative for Minnesota Ilhan Omar (R) and Representative for Michigan Rashida Tlaib (L) listen as US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 4, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) said she held Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) hand during “triggering” moments of President Trump’s State of the Union speech before they ultimately decided to walk out.

“It was a huge struggle for me because I don’t think people realize it’s worse when you’re actually there,” Tlaib said Friday, during a panel discussion with Omar. “There was moments of triggering, and I kept holding your hand, and we intentionally sat next to each other to support each other”:

Unlike their other squad counterparts, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who boycotted the speech, Tlaib and Omar showed up to send a message to Trump: they, as a group, were not going anywhere.

But Tlaib said she could not stand it anymore when Trump presented conservative talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“We ended up leaving, especially when they just went full out applause when they put that medal around Rush,” Tlaib said.

All four members of the squad reunited at an event on Friday for progressive activists in Washington, DC, called the Rising Majority.

Omar and Tlaib explained their decision to attend Trump’s State of the Union address while Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley explained their decision to boycott it.

“I went last year. He’s not all that,” Ocasio-Cortez said of Trump, “much less impressive in person than on television. And I just didn’t want to sit through that.”

“Ultimately, we knew what was going to come. We knew it was going to be racist, Islamophobic, classist [and] history denying. I just didn’t feel like spending my evening legitimizing that,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

The fourth member of the squad, Pressley, said she did not want to attend because she did not want to be made into an Internet meme.

“I wanted to control my own narrative, my own image,” Pressley said.


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