President Donald Trump on Friday night launched what critics condemned as a mocking and dehumanizing attack on Rep. Rashida Tlaib and her 90-year-old grandmother after the Michigan congresswoman refused to visit Israel under restrictive conditions set by the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Israel was very respectful and nice to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, allowing her permission to visit her ‘grandmother,'” Trump tweeted. “As soon as she was granted permission, she grandstanded and loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel. Could this possibly have been a setup? Israel acted appropriately!”
Observers were quick to note the president’s use of scare quotes around grandmother, which journalist Mairav Zonszein said is “fully in line with the total dehumanization of Palestinians, to the point that you have literally erased their existence from your vile mind.”
“He really put ‘grandmother’ in quotes like Palestinians are incapable of having family members,” added writer Rebecca Pierce.
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