WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump bashed Rep. Rashida Tlaib for declining Israel's approval to visit her grandmother in the West Bank, claiming that the Michigan Democrat's initial travel request was a "complete setup."
"Israel was very respectful & nice to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, allowing her permission to visit her 'grandmother.' As soon as she was granted permission, she grandstanded & loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel," Trump wrote in a tweet. "Could this possibly have been a setup? Israel acted appropriately!"
In another tweet, Trump said Tlaib had "obnoxiously" turn down Israel's approval following the letter she wrote about wanting to see her grandmother. The situation was "a complete setup," the president added.
"The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother," Trump wrote in the tweet. "She doesn’t have to see her now!"
Citing "racist treatment" and "oppressive conditions," Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, announced Friday morning that she will not be going to the West Bank, hours after Israel said it would allow the progressive congresswoman to visit the occupied territory.
Tlaib, along with Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., had planned to travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank, among other stops, this weekend. Tlaib and Omar are the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in a statement on Friday granted approval for Tlaib to access the West Bank on humanitarian grounds to visit her grandmother. A letter that Tlaib also wrote requesting to see her grandmother was published by Deri's office. In the letter, Tlaib said she'd respect any restrictions and “not promote boycotts” while in the country.
However in a tweet following Deri's announcement, Tlaib said she was not going to travel to the West Bank and Israel because "visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother's heart."
"Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me – it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice," Tlaib wrote in a statement.
Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in--fighting against racism, oppression & injustice. https://t.co/z5t5j3qk4H— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 16, 2019
Deri in a tweet responded to Tlaib's statement, saying he approved her request "as a gesture of goodwill on a humanitarian basis." He also claimed that "her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother." Deri tagged Trump in the tweet.
Deri's decision also came less than 24 hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred Tlaib and Omar from entering the country. Netanyahu's announcement came hours after Trump tweeted that Israel should take that step and bar two sitting members of Congress from visiting the longtime U.S. ally.
The president has repeatedly attacked Tlaib and Omar, members of the "Squad" along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.
Setting off a firestorm in Washington, in July, Trump tweeted that the four Democratic congresswomen should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." All four lawmakers are U.S. citizens. Omar immigrated from Somalia when she was a child and is a naturalized citizen.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump: Tlaib's decision not to visit West Bank 'a complete setup'