House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy says he plans to formally censure House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) over her call to violence in Minnesota this weekend, Breitbart News reports.
McCarthy’s decision to force a censure vote in the House comes after House Speaker Nancy Peolosi refuses to hold Waters accountable. If Republicans stand together and at least 3 Democrats come forth to condemn Waters for her actions, then Waters will be formally censured by the House and likely lose her position as chair of the Financial Services Committee.
McCarthy’s statement and decision makes it clear that it is his belief that Waters “broke the law by violating curfew” before she “incited violence” with a statement she made to reporters in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, this weekend.
“This weekend in Minnesota, Maxine Waters broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence. Increased unrest has already led to violence against law enforcement and her comments intentionally poured fuel on the fire,” McCarthy said. “We’ve heard this type of violent rhetoric from Waters before, and the United States Congress must clearly and without reservation reprimand this behavior before more people get hurt. But Speaker Pelosi is ignoring Waters’ behavior. That’s why I am introducing a resolution to censure Rep. Waters for these dangerous comments, and I hope that all my colleagues – both Republican and Democrat – will stand up for peace on America’s streets.”
Waters appeared with demonstrators in Brooklyn Center in Minnesota who have been protesting the death of Daunte Wright. During remarks to reporters, Waters specifically urged people to “get more confrontational” if the jury in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin does not return a murder conviction in the death of George Floyd.
“We’re looking for a guilty verdict,” Waters said. “And we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd, if nothing does not happen, then we know that we’ve got to not only stay in the street, but we’ve got to fight for justice. But I am very hopeful, and I hope we are going to get a verdict that says ‘guilty, guilty, guilty.’ If we don’t, we cannot go away.”
When asked on what protesters should do if Chauvin is not convicted of murder, Waters said: “We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure they know we mean business.”
After the video of Waters’ statements went viral on social media, McCarthy on Sunday night pressed Pelosi to act on Waters inciting violence. Pelosi instead has not acted, other than defending Waters and saying she should not apologize for the commentary.
“Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the Civil Rights movement,” Pelosi said, according to CNN. “I myself think we should take our lead from the George Floyd family. They’ve handled this with great dignity and no ambiguity or lack of misinterpretation by the other side.”
“No, no, I don’t think she should apologize,” Pelosi added about Waters.
Pelosi tells @AnnieGrayerCNN that Waters should NOT apologize for saying protestors should “get more confrontational” if Chauvin is acquitted. “No she doesn’t,” she said when asked if Waters should apologize. “Absolutely not,” she said when asked if her comments incited violence
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 19, 2021
Waters followed Pelosi’s defense of her, claiming Republicans were intentionally misinterpreting her call for protesters to “get more confrontational,” in an interview with the Grio attempting to clean up the mess.
“I am nonviolent,” Waters told the outlet, before claiming Republicans were deliberately twisting her words to infer she was calling for violence:
Republicans will jump on any word, any line and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent … any time they see an opportunity to seize on a word, so they do it and they send a message to all of the white supremacists, the KKK, the Oath Keepers, the [Proud] Boys and all of that, how this is a time for [Republicans] to raise money on [Democrats] backs.
Waters claimed this was part of a conspiracy theory by Republicans to pit everyone against her. “This is a time for [Republicans] to keep telling our constituents that [Democrats] are the enemy and they do that time and time again,” Waters said. “But that does not deter me from speaking truth to power. I am not intimidated. I am not afraid, and I do what needs to be done.”
In the Grio interview, she said when used the word “confrontational” she really meant legislatively and through civic reform. “I talk about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on, I’m talking about speaking up,” Waters said. “I’m talking about legislation. I’m talking about elected officials doing what needs to be done to control their budgets and to pass legislation.”
Waters in the Grio interview reiterated her belief that Republicans are trying to “distort” her comments. “I am not worried that they’re going to continue to distort what I say,” Waters said. “This is who they are and this is how they act. And I’m not going to be bullied by them.”
Pelosi and Waters can only afford to lose two Democrats and still block the measure. If at least three House Democrats join with all House Republicans in approving the censure, then efforts to censure Waters would succeed.
The last successful censure was in 2010 of now-former Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) over corruption, and before that was of then-Reps. Daniel Crane (R-IL) and Gerry Studds (D-MA) in the early 1980s for sexual misconduct.