Pelosi defends Rep. Maxine Waters over her call for protesters to get ‘confrontational’ if Derek Chauvin is acquitted
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed up California Rep. Maxine Waters on Monday, arguing that the Democratic congresswoman “absolutely” did not try to stoke violence by calling on Black Lives Matter protesters to “get more confrontational” if ex-Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin is acquitted of killing George Floyd.
Waters, a lightning rod for right-wing criticism, has come under fire from conservatives over making the heated remark while attending a protest in Minnesota over the weekend — but Pelosi told reporters that Republicans are taking her comments out of context.
“Maxine talked about ‘confrontation’ in the manner of the Civil Rights movement,” Pelosi said on Capitol Hill, adding that there has been no “lack of misinterpretation by the other side.”
“No, I don’t think she should apologize,” Pelosi added.
Waters traveled to Brooklyn Center, Minn., for a protest Saturday over the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright, which took place as a jury in nearby Minneapolis weighs whether to convict Chauvin of murdering Floyd during a harrowing caught-on-camera traffic stop last May.
Asked by reporters about the Chauvin trial during Saturday’s protest, Waters said she hopes the jury delivers a verdict of “guilty, guilty, guilty.”
“And if (they) don’t, we cannot go away,” Waters continued. “We’ve got to stay on the street. We get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”
Waters’ comment has drawn intense pushback from Republicans, including far-right Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who announced a measure to expel the California Democrat on Sunday.
Any attempts at reprimanding Waters in the House are destined to fail, as the chamber’s controlled by Democrats.
But it wasn’t just congressional Republicans who scolded Waters.
“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, who oversees Chauvin’s murder trial, said during Monday’s session after declining a motion for a mistrial from the ex-cop’s attorney.
Back on Capitol Hill, Michigan Rep. Lisa McClain, a freshman Republican, suggested Waters would’ve faced a much different response from Pelosi if she was a member of the GOP.
“If this was said by a Republican, you know the majority in this chamber would move to strip that representative of committees and possibly move to expel them from Congress,” McClain said on the House floor.
Pelosi took aim at McClain during her gaggle with reporters.
“That woman on the floor should be apologizing for what she said,” the speaker said.
McClain fired back in real-time, tweeting, “As ‘that woman,’ no I won’t apologize for calling out the double standards that you have set, @SpeakerPelosi.”