WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had only been in office for a few hours when a handful of Democrats defied her persistent calls not to begin the new Congress by talking about impeachment.

Just after Pelosi was sworn in Thursday, longtime Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman of California and Al Green of Texas introduced articles of impeachment against President Trump.

That evening, newly elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan riled up a supportive crowd by calling the president a profanity and predicting that he will be removed from office.

Tension over impeachment is likely to be a persistent thorn for Pelosi, who will have to balance between a small, vocal group of the most liberal members of her caucus, who want to see Trump removed immediately, and the majority of her members, who want to wait for special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to finish.

Pelosi purposely avoided – and encouraged most fellow Democrats to avoid – any talk of impeachment during the election, believing there could be backlash from voters.

While many Democrats might favor impeachment, those calling for it now are largely outliers. Most Democratic lawmakers listened to Pelosi and campaigned on kitchen table issues such as health care and jobs and prefer to keep them at the forefront of the party’s focus.

Still, it will be hard for Pelosi to quiet some on her left flank who see their new majority as a direct challenge to Trump.

“Impeachment is on the table,” Sherman said. “You can’t take it off the table.”

The division delights Republicans, who have used impeachment calls to fire up their base of voters.

Trump was eager to immediately seize on the topic, asking in a tweet Friday, “How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong.”

Speaking later Friday to reporters in the Rose Garden, Trump said he thought Tlaib’s comments were “disgraceful” and she “dishonored herself.”

Tlaib, who represents liberal Detroit, exclaimed at an event late Thursday that Democrats were going to “impeach the mother——.”

She didn’t back down Friday, tweeting that “I will always speak truth to power.” She added the hashtag, “(hash)unapologeticallyMe.”

Her spokesman, Denzel McCampbell, said in a statement that Tlaib, one of only two Muslim women in Congress, “was elected to shake up Washington” and will not stay silent.

“The congresswoman absolutely believes he needs to be impeached. She ran and won by making this very clear to the voters in her district,” McCampbell said.