BROOKLYN CENTER, MN – Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) is facing increasing criticism over her recent appearance on Saturday night at a racial justice protest in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, over the police-involved deaths of Daunte Wright, 20, where the 15-term Congresswoman – out past the curfew imposed by authorities – said that protestors needed to get “more confrontational.”
The comments – coming amid days of tense protesting and violent riots – were in response to questions from reporters covering the protest over what would happen if Derek Chauvin’s murder trial for the death of George Floyd ends in acquittal.
“We’ve got to stay on the street, and we’ve got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational,” Waters said. “We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”
Just hours later, two National Guard members were shot at and injured in Minneapolis; it is currently unknown if the shooter – who is now in police custody – was inspired by Waters’ comments.
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Republicans – many of whom interpreted Waters’ comments to be a call to violence – have called for the 82 year-old Congresswoman to be sanctioned or even expelled from Congress; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) accused Waters of “inciting violence” and said that he will bring action “this week” if she is not censured.
Ironically, Waters may have inadvertently affected the trial of Derek Chauvin in a manner detrimental to her cause.
Prior to the start of jury deliberations Monday, Chauvin’s lawyer requested that Presiding Judge Peter Cahill declare a mistrial due to Waters’ comments possibly prejudicing the jury; while Cahill denied the request, he nonetheless called Waters’ comments “abhorrent” and noted that she may have actually assisted the defense.
“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Cahill said.
As for Republican hopes of Waters being punished in an official capacity, due to Democrat control of the House of Representatives, it is doubtful that this will occur; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) defended Waters when speaking to reporters on Monday.
“No, I don’t think she should apologize. Maxine talked about ‘confrontation’ in the manner of the civil rights movement,” Pelosi said.
When asked about Waters’ comments on Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki didn’t address them directly, merely saying that “as [President Joe Biden] also always says, protests must be peaceful.”