‘I’m proud of you’: Some freshman Democrats geek out over meeting Obama
The former party leader described new class as ‘stocked with a bunch of my campaign and administration alums’
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib said in a tweet Thursday that President Barack Obama told the freshman Democrat he was proud of her.
“[W]e had a thoughtful discussion about serving our country,” she tweeted. “The best part was when he looked straight at me and said, ‘I’m proud of you.’”
.@BarackObama met with us new members of Congress and we had a thoughtful discussion about serving our country. The best part was when he looked straight at me and said, “I’m proud of you.” pic.twitter.com/cPDOth0B5i
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) March 28, 2019
Obama met with first-term members of Congress on Monday night, and praised the new crop of lawmakers in a subsequent tweet as “a young, diverse class.”
Obama reportedly cautioned the new lawmakers to consider how to finance ambitious legislation in the form of tax increases, and encouraged them to find policies they are willing to stand on — even when they are politically costly.
The former leader of the party thus straddled two camps of the Democratic caucus, which is divided between progressives that have endorsed “Medicare for All” and centrist lawmakers who have instead prioritized shoring up his landmark Affordable Care Act.
“He told stories about passing the ACA, and how that took a lot of conviction and, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and how that took a lot of time,” Democratic Michigan Rep. Haley Stevens told the Washington Post.
Obama also pointed out the group is “stocked with a bunch of my campaign and administration alums who’ve taken the torch.”
Former Obama administration officials turned members of Congress include Stevens, who once served as an aide to the president’s bailout of the auto industry, then worked in the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Rep. Tom Malinowski of New Jersey worked in the U.S. State Department under Obama, and Rep. Lauren Underwood of Illinois worked in the administration’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Some new members have not shied away from criticizing the legacy of the Obama White House. Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar criticized the former president for his use of drone strikes in an interview this month.
Rep. Deb Haaland
I organized for @BarackObama on the ground in New Mexico – knocking doors, making phone calls, making sure folks had rides to the polls – now I’m in the same room listening and learning from him as a Congresswoman. It’s unreal. Proof that anything is possible. #BeFierce pic.twitter.com/6b0scMXgrh
— Rep. Deb Haaland (@RepDebHaaland) March 26, 2019
Rep. Joe Neguse
Truly enjoyed visiting with President @BarackObama earlier this week in Washington D.C. — his kindness, empathy, and good natured humor reminded me why so many of us were inspired by him to pursue public service, myself included! #copolitics pic.twitter.com/LWSMzKB1T6
— Joe Neguse (@JoeNeguse) March 29, 2019
Rep. Joe Morelle
My wife and I had the distinct privilege of meeting President @BarackObama earlier this week – an inspiring leader whose message of hope forever changed our nation for the better. #ThanksObama pic.twitter.com/nVsBGmqlXB
— Joe Morelle (@RepJoeMorelle) March 28, 2019