Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has publicly denied allegations that she encouraged violence against Republican officials at a rally in 2018.
In an interview with MSNBC this week, Waters predicted her comments from a Los Angeles rally in 2018 will be brought up by Republicans and the defense team in the impeachment trial. Senate Democrats believe Trump’s attorneys will likely bring up any past verbiage that might suggest Democrats have incited violence – the crime for which they are impeaching former President Trump. Waters is once again addressing her calls for citizens to push back on then-President Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, saying she only encouraged peaceful protest.
Speaking to a crowd of supporters on June 20, 2018, Waters compelled them to protest Trump’s controversial border policy by making Trump cabinet officials feel unwelcome at restaurants, gas stations, and other public places. Her full quote was: “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Despite this, multiple fact checkers have been misleading in reporting that, “No, Calif. Rep. Maxine Waters didn’t say Trump supporters ‘not welcome here.’”
When President Trump fired back at her on Twitter, calling her “an extraordinarily low IQ person” who “has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement,” Waters immediately defended her comments. In an interview with MSNBC at the time, she argued “I did not call for harm for anybody, the President lied again… I believe that the constitution guarantees us freedom of speech. And I think that protest is civil. I don’t know why the President chose to stretch that out and try to imply that I was causing harm.”
Now, as the impeachment trial begins on Capitol Hill, Waters is once again defending the 2018 remarks, denying that her calls for demonstrations toward Trump cabinet members were in any way a call for violence. Waters told MSNBC, “…if you look at the words that I used, the strongest thing I said was tell them they’re not welcome. ‘Talk to them. Tell them they’re not welcome.’ I didn’t say, ‘Go and fight.’ I didn’t say anybody was going to have any violence.” Waters predicts the argument against her past speech and other similar arguments against other Democratic leaders will likely not succeed as part of the defense in the impeachment trial this week.
She believes the comparison between the history of remarks made by Democrats about Trump “does not in any way equal what this president has said and what he has done.” The impeachment trial gets under way on Tuesday, February 9, with Democratic impeachment managers expected to make their case using hours of video footage they hope will present a clear argument that former President Trump incited the attack on the Capitol on January 6.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AP NEWS