Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has publically denied encouraging supporters to confront and harass members of the Trump administration.
The California Democrat was asked whether she ever “glorified or encouraged” violence against Republicans in a Sunday interview with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi.
“As a matter of fact, if you look at the words that I used, the strongest thing I said was tell them they’re not welcome,” Watters claimed. “[I said] Talk to them. Tell them they’re not welcome. I didn’t say go and fight. I didn’t say anybody was going to have any violence. And so they can’t make that stick.”
Watters came under fire in 2018 for telling the same network that she had “no sympathy” for administration officials who defended Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, and urged her supporters to “absolutely harass them” when appearing in public.
“They’re not going to be able to go to a restaurant, they’re not going to be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop at a department store,” Waters said at the time. “The people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them.”
Her comments came after then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former press secretary Sarah Sanders were confronted with their families in public over family separation during the Trump administration.
Waters showed little remorse during Sunday’s interview, however, urging Republicans to distance from Trump or risk being “owned by a dishonorable human being”
“The Republicans should be afraid, not only about the destruction of our democracy but if they continue to support him and allowed themselves to be guided by him, they’re going to have to live with a president that dictates to them every vote they can take, every vote they cannot take,” she said. “He’s going to be in their primaries. They will be owned by this dishonorable human being.”
Trump’s lead impeachment attorney Bruce Castor is reportedly planning to reference Waters’ 2018 comments in his arguments during the former president’s Senate impeachment trial this week.
Castor was asked by “The Ingraham Angle” host Laura Ingraham whether he plans to use “dueling video” with Democrats expected to make their case that Trump incited the Jan. 6 Capitol riot with his remarks on the Ellipse earlier that day.
“I think you can count on that,” he told Ingraham. “If my eyes look a little red to the viewers, it’s because I’ve been looking at a lot of video.”