Rashida Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American woman ever to sit in the US Congress. On January 3, Tlaib was sworn in, wearing a traditional Palestinian dress called a qobe. Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents. She worked as a labor lawyer at the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice. But she probably rose to widespread attention in 2016, when she was thrown out of an event for loudly heckling then-candidate Donald Trump.
Since then, Tlaib has made headlines for her outspoken opposition to the president. On January 3, Tlaib addressed a crowd of her supporters and said, “People love you and you win. And when your son looks at you and says, ‘Mama, look you won. Bullies don’t win.’ And I said, ‘Baby, they don’t, because we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the mother***er.’” Tlaib also wrote an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press calling for Trump to be impeached.
Rashida Tlaib married Fayez Tlaib back in 1998. The couple have two children but are no longer together. Rashida — a proud mother who loves to show the world photos of her sons — shares almost nothing about Fayez or about her marital status.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rashida’s Campaign Manager Says She is a Single Mother
A piece in the Detroit News describes Rashida Tlaib as a “single mother” and includes a quote from her campaign spokesman, TJ Bucholz, describing her as “single:”
“Campaign spokesman TJ Bucholz said, given that income level, Tlaib is actually entitled to “far more” under FEC guidelines than the $4,000 a month she has elected to pay herself during the campaign. “In short, Rashida is a single mother of two children working tirelessly on the trail and she’s not independently wealthy,” Bucholz said. ”
An article in the Toledo Blade describes Rashida as a “divorced mother with two sons.” But it is not clear when — or why — Rashida and Fayez split up.
2. Rashida and Fayez Came Under Fire For Underpaying Their Property Taxes. Rashida Blamed Fayez
In 2014, Rashida Tlaib — who was then a state representative — made a big re-payment to Wayne County. The Battle Creek Enquirer reported that Tlaib forked over $4,550 to make up for underpayments on her property taxes that stretched back to 2008. Part of that $4,550 went to Wayne County, and the rest was a payment to United Community Housing Coalition, a nonprofit that provides housing for low-income residents in Detroit.
Rashida and Fayez had consistently underpaid their taxes since 2008. They had claimed a 100 percent personal residence exemption for both their Detroit home and for a rental property they own in Dearborn. But in fact, only their Detroit home was eligible for the tax exemption.
Rashida said that Fayez had made a mistake when she signed the affidavit declaring the exemption. But she vowed to take full responsibility for the incident and issued a repayment, along with a payment to the housing charity.
3. Rashida and Fayez Married 20 Years Ago, When She Was Just 22. She Said He Was Very Supportive of Her Political Career
Rashida, 42, married Fayez in 1998. As far back as 2014, the couple lived in Southwest Detroit with their two sons, Adam and Yousif.
A few stray media reports say that the couple has divorced and describe Rashida as a single mother. It’s not clear when — or why — the couple got divorced. What’s certain is that Fayez does not have any presence in Rashida’s campaign. He is not included in her Facebook videos or in her photos. Rashida posts many pictures of herself with her sons, but she doesn’t post any of Fayez. But back in 2014, she said that Fayez was “very supportive” of her political career, and said he hadbeen supportive of her from the beginning.
4. Rashida Is Very, Very Private About Her Ex-Husband
Rashida loves to talk about her two sons, Adam and Yousif. Her Facebook account is stuffed with pictures of the two boys, and videos of them horsing around with her at campaign events or on their lawn. She also talks readily about her sons, both on social media and in interviews.
Rashida is much, much more private about Fayez. The couple married in 1998, when Rashida was just 22. And she has described Fayez as “very supportive” of her political career. But Fayez is nowhere to be found on Rashida’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Occasionally, videos of her sons will have a male, accented voice speaking in the background, but the camera never turns to face the man, so it’s impossible to know who he is.
There is a Facebook account for a Fayez Tlaib living in Detroit. That Fayez also has two sons, who look like Rashida’s sons. You can see the picture on Fayez’s page here. And the picture of Rashida’s page here.
But it’s impossible to know whether it is, in fact, Rashida’s husband Faiz, or some other Faiz living in Detroit.
5. Rashida and Fayez Have Two Sons, Adam and Yousif
Rashida and Fayez live in Southwest Detroit with their two sons, Adam and Yousif.
Rashida said that her son Adam first got interested in her political career back in 2014, when she was running for State Senator. She said that Adam, just 9 at the time, started to become passionate about her career.
“He reads my campaign literature and says, ‘Mama, Virgil is not nice,’” she said, referring to her opponent in her race for state senate.