U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) attracted widespread criticism ahead of this week’s verdict announcement in the Derek Chauvin murder trial for calling on protesters to become more “confrontational” if the former Minnesota police officer were not convicted on all counts related to George Floyd’s death.
Among her most prominent detractors was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who brought forth a motion to censure his Democratic colleague — but the effort was soon shot down by leaders on the other side of the aisle.
“We mean business”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had previously offered some support for Waters amid allegations that the rhetoric could serve to intimidate or otherwise prejudice jurors in the case.
When asked on Monday whether she believed Waters had acted inappropriately, Pelosi declared: “No, absolutely not.”
Waters traveled to Minnesota this week where she called on activists in the streets to demand a guilty verdict and “make sure they know we mean business.”
Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over the Chauvin trial, acknowledged in remarks to the defense team that Waters could have delivered “something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”
For his part, McCarthy called out House Democrats after his motion was defeated in a narrow party-line vote of 216-210.
“Someone we can’t control”
“Speaker Pelosi, and every other House Democrat, had the opportunity to condemn the violent rhetoric of our colleague Rep. Waters, a chairwoman and senior member of Congress, to protesters to ‘get more confrontational,'” he said. “Instead, they condoned it.”
Waters and her defenders, however, claimed that she was merely channeling the non-violent resistance exemplified by the Civil Rights era.
She thanked her fellow Democrats for their support after McCarthy’s effort sputtered, going on to style herself as a victim and claiming that the GOP had been targeting her as part of a fundraising effort.
“That’s Maxine Waters, that Black woman, who is so uppity, and who is someone we can’t control,” she said. “You’ve got to make sure that I have enough money to keep her from being re-elected.”
Of course, this was not the first remark she has made while in office to result in allegations of incitement. In 2018, Waters called on Democrats to harass Trump administration staffers in public. If the latest censure effort had succeeded, she would have lost her position as chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee.