Hill aide interferes with Fox News camera crew during Tlaib interview

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “war criminal” on Thursday during fiery remarks that grew more contentious when a Capitol Hill staffer used an umbrella to obstruct a Fox News cameraman who was filming the exchange.

The unidentified aide is seen in video of the encounter repeatedly opening and closing his umbrella. The action interferes with the camera shot and at one point the umbrella seemingly makes contact with the operator, who witnesses say was hit in the face and upper body.

The interaction occurred as Chad Pergram, Fox News Channel’s senior congressional correspondent, was asking Tlaib about Netanyahu potentially being asked to address members of Congress. The prospects for such an invite have gained momentum in the wake of the recent decision by the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for Netanyahu, who has overseen Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza. The move by the ICC has drawn bipartisan ire, though Tlaib has been a consistent critic of Netanyahu.

“What happens if Netanyahu comes to speak?” Pergram asks Tlaib in the video as the staffer opens the umbrella, obstructing the camera’s view and forcing Pergram to move.


Rashida Tlaib, Tlaib staffer, Chad Pergram

The incident was captured on film and took place as Chad Pergram, Fox News Channel’s senior congressional correspondent, asked Tlaib about the prospects of Netanyahu speaking to members of Congress. (Fox News)

“Ms. Tlaib, what happens if Netanyahu comes to speak? Is that a mistake by the speaker to extend this request?” Pergram continues.

The staffer is then seen closing the umbrella as Pergram asks Tlaib: “Would you attend? Would you protest in any form?”

Tlaib answers, slamming Netanyahu and those who would consider inviting him to speak to Congress.

“I don’t know, inviting a war criminal to Congress is a sham,” Tlaib says. “It’s shameful.”

As she responds, the staffer steps between the cameraman and Pergram, who is still questioning Tlaib, and opens the umbrella again. The camera then pans wildly as the umbrella makes contact with the operator.

“He hit me with an umbrella,” the cameraman is heard saying in the video.

“I did not hit you with an umbrella,” the staffer responds.

“We have it on video, guys. He hit him with an umbrella,” Pergram tells Tlaib and the aide. “That’s assault.”

Tlaib and the aide continue on, walking past Capitol police officers and up the stairs into the Capitol.

Tlaib’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Her refusal to answer Pergram’s questions comes after House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., drafted an invitation for Netanyahu to deliver an address to Congress. 

Johnson told reporters Thursday that he gave Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., an ultimatum: either sign on to the drafted invitation or the House will extend the invitation on its own.


House Speaker Mike Johnson (left) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (right)

House Speaker Mike Johnson, left, said he gave Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., right, an ultimatum with regard to Netanyahu’s likely address to Congress: either sign on to the drafted invitation or the House will extend the invitation on its own. (Getty Images)

“My office told Sen. Schumer’s office yesterday that he needed to sign the joint letter, and if not, we were going to proceed and invite Netanyahu just to the House, and I’ll send individual invitations to senators,” Johnson said.

An outspoken critic of Israel’s war with Hamas, Tlaib called for the arrest of Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials this month for what she called violations of the Genocide Convention under international law.

In a May 7 press release, Tlaib called out the government of Israel for its ground operation in Rafah and lambasted continued U.S. aid given to the Jewish State.

“It’s no coincidence that immediately after our government sent the Israeli apartheid regime over $14 billion with absolutely no conditions on upholding human rights, Netanyahu began a ground invasion of Rafah to continue the genocide of Palestinians — with ammunition and bombs paid for by our tax dollars,” she said at the time. “Over 1.5 million Palestinian civilians, including over 600,000 children, are trapped in Rafah, living in makeshift tents, without food, clean water, sanitation, medicine, or any form of shelter.”

Tlaib accused Israeli forces of killing more than 35,000 Palestinians and displacing families in Rafah, exposing them to more “unimaginable human suffering.”

She also warned her constituents in the release that many of her colleagues would express concern over the “crimes against humanity” in Rafah, even though the same colleagues voted in favor of giving Netanyahu the means to do so.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun/Pool/File)

“Do not be misled, they gave their consent for these atrocities, and our country is actively participating in genocide,” Tlaib said. “For months, Netanyahu made his intent to invade Rafah clear, yet the majority of my colleagues and President Biden sent more weapons to enable the massacre.”


She said Netanyahu will only stay in power as long as fighting continues, adding that the U.S. must stop funding Israel.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Capitol Police for comment.

Fox News’ Greg Wehner contributed to this report.

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