In a fiery press conference on Monday, outspoken Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (CA) got defensive when asked about criticism from her Democratic colleagues over her call for more harassment of members of the Trump administration.
Over the weekend, Waters celebrated the news of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders being booted out of a restaurant because she's a member of the Trump administration by calling for more of that kind of personal targeting of administration members. "Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up," Waters said at a toy drive event. "And 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. Mr. President, we will see you every day, every hour of the day, everywhere that we are to let you know you cannot get away with this!"
Waters later underscored to MSNBC that she meant that protesters are "going to absolutely harass them."
After public rebukes from her fellow Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Chuck Schumer, Waters held a press conference Monday at which she defended her comments. When she opened the floor to questions, the first one prompted a defensive response from the congresswoman. Asked what she has to say about the criticism from her fellow Democrats, a clearly incensed Waters tried to blame the backlash on Trump.
"They have not been," she insisted (video below). "They have talked about civility from everybody. Don't put this on Nancy Pelosi, don't put this on anybody — put this on Trump! Trump is the one who is creating lies, trying to have people believe that I talked about harming people. There’s nowhere in my statement, anytime, anyplace that we talked about harm."
Waters began the presser by standing by her calls for more harassment, which she now clarified meant "peaceful protest." Trump slamming her for her dangerous comments, she said, is an attempt at "diverting us from the real issue."
"When [Trump] talks about any comment that I have made relative to these children, he is lying once again," said Waters. "This is about whether or not the President of the United States and this administration is going to come up with a plan to connect these children. The demonstrations and the civil protests started against him and his cabinet long before I even made my remarks. ... Protesting is what is supported by our Constitution, and in a democracy you get the right to protest. I believe, again, peaceful protest is the civil way to do it, ... We need to all focus on getting this president to come up with a credible plan ... that will reconnect these children and that is public. So let's not get diverted like the president is capable of doing ... of diverting us from the real issue. This issue is not Maxine Waters. This issue is the children."
In a tweet Monday, Trump slammed "extraordinarily low IQ" Waters for having "called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement." He ended the tweet by warning, "Be careful what you wish for Max!"
The Democratic leaders responded to Waters' comments by calling for civility rather than the kind of divisive and ugly personal targeting of political opponents we've seen over the last week, as The Daily Wire has highlighted:
Among the other administration members that have already been victims of out of control political harassment is DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, whose home was descended upon by protesters, some of whom have threatened the children of administration members.
Trump-supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was also harassed for her support of the administration, some left-wing activists allegedly getting in her face and "spitting" on her.
"The video [left-wing activists] are choosing to share is of the least aggressive portion of the attack that transpired after police arrived to control the scene. What they are not sharing publicly are several previous encounters involving large men getting in the Attorney General's face, spitting and blocking her exit," Bondi's spokeswoman Whitney Ray said.
While the Democrats are trying to make the border crisis an election issue, the reality is that the separation of families and the alarming detention center situation has been an issue dating back to the Obama administration, which detained thousands of illegal immigrant children under "deplorable conditions." According to the DHS, about 10,000 immigrant children have been sent to the border unaccompanied by family members, while about 2,000-plus children have been detained separate from their family members. Despite the Democrats' protestations of the separations, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer shut down a Republican plan that would've addressed the separation problem, trying instead to "keep the focus on Trump."
Video below via Fox News: