Updated May 14, 2019

Trump targets Rashida Tlaib over Israel and Holocaust comments

Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

President Trump joined other prominent Republicans in criticizing Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on Monday after she invoked the Holocaust while explaining why she supports a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Democrat Rep. Tlaib is being slammed for her horrible and highly insensitive statement on the Holocaust. She obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. Can you imagine what would happen if I ever said what she said, and says?"

Context: In a Yahoo podcast published over the weekend, Tlaib spoke at length about what geopolitical issues over the decades formed her support for a one-state solution in the region.

"There's kind of a calming feeling I always tell folks when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people's passports.
I mean, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time, and I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right, and it was forced on them. And so when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that, why couldn't we do it in a better way?
I want a safe haven for Jews. Who doesn't want to be safe? I am humbled by the fact that it was my ancestors that had to suffer for that to happen, but I will not turn my back and allow others to hijack it and say that it's some extremist approach because they're coming from a place of ... whatever it is ... of division, inequality."

The state of play: Top Republicans and Israeli officials reacted negatively to Tlaib's comments, which came just days after Israel's annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.

  • Much of their criticism centered on her use of the phrase "calming feeling" when referring to her thoughts about the Holocaust's impact on the politics and settlement of the region. At times, the critics incorrectly insinuated that she was using the phrase to refer to the genocide's millions of deaths.
  • Tlaib's statement also seems to indicate that Israel was founded in 1948 as a safe harbor for Jews worldwide after the Holocaust. Though Jewish immigration to the region increased greatly during and after the Holocaust, Zionism, the desire to re-establish a Jewish state in the Holy Land, came to prominence with the writings of Theodor Herzl in the late 1800s.

What they're saying:

  • Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the UN: ".@RashidaTlaib, your words are both grossly #antiSemitic and ignorant. You should take some time to learn the history before trying to rewrite it."
  • House Minority Whip Steve Scalise: "There is no justification for the twisted and disgusting comments made by Rashida Tlaib just days after the annual Day of Holocaust Remembrance. More than 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust; there is nothing 'calming' about that fact."
  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.): "Surely now @SpeakerPelosi⁩ & ⁦@LeaderHoyer⁩ will finally take action against vile anti-Semitism in their ranks. This must cross the line, even for them. Rashida Tlaib says thinking of the Holocaust provides her a 'calming feeling'"

The other side:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "Republicans’ desperate attempts to smear [Tlaib] & misrepresent her comments are outrageous. President [Trump] & House GOP should apologize to Rep. Tlaib & the American people for their gross misrepresentations.
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told The Hill: "If you read Rep. Tlaib’s comments, it is clear that President Trump and Congressional Republicans are taking them out of context. They must stop, and they owe her an apology."
  • Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders: "Mr. President: Stop dividing the American people up by their religion, their race or their country of origin--and stop your ugly attacks against Muslim women in Congress. You are taking Rep. [RashidaTlaib's] comments out of context and should apologize."
  • Tlaib responded to the Republican criticisms in a statement Monday.

Go deeper: Ilhan Omar declares "love for America" in response to Trump's tweet

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NYC races to build field hospitals as coronavirus death toll tops 1,000

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces at the USTA Bille Jean King tennis center that the venue will be transformed into a 350-bed temporary hospital. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans at a news briefing Tuesday to turn buildings and facilities into makeshift hospitals across the Big Apple — including U.S. open tennis courts.

The big picture: New York City now accounts for a quarter of all deaths from the novel coronavirus in the U.S. — more than 1,000 as of Wednesday morning. De Blasio said the city had "about 20,000 working hospital beds in our major hospitals" before the outbreak. Officials need to triple that number in the coming weeks.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 859,556 — Total deaths: 42,332 — Total recoveries: 178,300.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 189,510 — Total deaths: 4,076 — Total recoveries: 7,109.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in confinement.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 4,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 4,000 people in the U.S. — with over 1,000 deaths reported in New York City alone, per Johns Hopkins data. The number of deaths are still much lower than those reported in Italy, Spain and China.

Of note: Hours earlier, President Trump noted it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the novel coronavirus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place. "They are going to be facing a war zone," he said of medical workers.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health