House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused calls to censure Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) after she called on protesters to be more “confrontational” if former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin is not found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
Pelosi was asked by reporters Monday if Waters should apologize for her comments, and she defended her Democratic colleague.
“Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the Civil Rights movement. 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,” Pelosi replied.
When pressed about whether Waters should apologize, she added, “No, I don’t think she should apologize.”
Waters ignited a firestorm with her comments at a protest Sunday in Brooklyn Center.
“Well, we got to stay on the street,” Waters said to the protesters. “And we’ve got to get more active. You’ve got to get more confrontational. You got to make sure that they know we mean business.”
She went on to say that she didn’t agree with curfews imposed by officials trying to quell any possible rioting.
“I don’t know what curfew means,” Waters explained. “Curfew means that I want you all to stop talking. I want you to stop meeting. I want you stop gathering. I don’t agree with that.”
Many saw her comments as encouraging street violence.
On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promised to take action against Waters if Pelosi refused to do so herself.
“Maxine Waters is inciting violence in Minneapolis — just as she has incited it in the past,” McCarthy tweeted. “If Speaker Pelosi doesn’t act against this dangerous rhetoric, I will bring action this week.”
Maxine Waters is inciting violence in Minneapolis — just as she has incited it in the past. If Speaker Pelosi doesn… https://t.co/iUicQJYq3f
— Kevin McCarthy (@Kevin McCarthy)1618793152.0
Also on Monday, the judge in the Chauvin trial excoriated Waters and other public officials for speaking about the trial in a disrespectful way that did not honor their pledge to defend the Constitution.
“I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law, and to the judicial branch and our function,” said Judge Peter Cahill, who called the comments “abhorrent.”
Here are the comments from Waters:
Waters to demonstrators: ‘Get more confrontational’