As Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza rages on, the conflict has caused deep divisions throughout the country and particularly within the Democratic Party, with fierce disagreements over support for Israel and Palestine. Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the lone Palestinian American in Congress, is at the center of the political debate. A fierce supporter of Palestine and critic of Israel, her comments have drawn both applause and criticism from fellow Democrats. Now, it seems that one of her opponents within the party is willing to spend significant resources to replace Tlaib and unsuccessfully tried to recruit actor Hill Harper, who announced his Senate campaign in July, to sign on to the effort.

The New York Times reported that Democratic donor and businessman Linden Nelson spoke to Harper in October and offered him $20 million in campaign funding if he dropped his Senate race and ran as a primary challenger against Tlaib. Harper reportedly turned down the offer. Harper’s campaign spokesman confirmed the conversation, and neither Nelson nor Tlaib commented on the story.

After the news of the conversation broke, Harper addressed the situation in a series of tweets on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. Without naming Nelson, Harper confirmed the $20 million offer that he declined.

“I said no,” Harper tweeted, adding, “I won’t be bossed, bullied or bought.”

In a follow-up tweet, the 57-year-old noted that “telling the truth here will put a target on my back.” Linking to a donation page for his campaign, he told his supporters that “if we ALL come together, we can win.”

In a third tweet, Harper said the issue was not “about one person or one phone call.” Instead, he criticized “a broken political and campaign finance system that’s tilted towards the wealthy and powerful.” Harper added a defense of Tlaib, saying, “I’m not going to run against the only Palestinian-American in Congress just because some special interests don’t like her.”

As Politico noted, the October 16 call with Hill came as he and Tlaib faced challenges in their respective political careers. Hill, running as a progressive in an open Senate election in Michigan, has trailed Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin in that race. Meanwhile, Tlaib, who has in the past faced opposition from people like Nelson, has in recent weeks come under heavy criticism for her pro-Palestinian stances. Most notably, over 20 Democrats joined with House Republicans to formally censure Tlaib for her endorsement of the pro-Palestinian phrase “from the river to the sea,” which critics have argued calls for the destruction of Israel, a meaning that Tlaib has rejected. Nevertheless, progressive Democrats, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, have supported Tlaib.

For now, neither Harper nor Tlaib has backed away from their support for Palestinians; both have called for a ceasefire in Gaza, a demand that is growing among Democrats in Washington. And they have both used the opposition they faced to rally supporters and draw more attention to causes they hold dear, like the plight of the Palestinian people.