Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) urged Rep. Maxine Waters on Tuesday to apologize for urging her constituents to harass and publicly confront members of President Donald Trump’s administration.
“There’s no place for this. [Waters] obviously should apologize,” Ryan said during a press conference. “When we in this democracy are suggesting that because we disagree with people on political views, on policy views, on philosophical views, that we should resort to violence and harassment and intimidation, that’s dangerous for our society.”
“It’s dangerous for our democracy. She should apologize. And there’s just no place for that in our public discourse,” he added.
Waters, a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Financial Services, prompted intense backlash after a Saturday rally in Los Angeles. It featured her incendiary remarks capping a week of increasingly angry protests of President Trump’s zero tolerance policy on illegal immigration by Democrats and open borders advocates.
“If you think we’re rallying now, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” Waters told the rally. “If you see anybody from that [Trump] Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
Waters’ comments came after White House press secretary Sarah Sanders revealed Saturday that the owner of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, asked her to leave Friday because of her association with Trump.
Other Trump administration officials, including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and adviser Stephen Miller, also were either denied service or asked to leave restaurants after facing protesters and heckling.
But Waters doubled down on her calls for confrontation Saturday during an MSNBC interview, saying that “these members of his Cabinet who remain and try to defend [Trump], they won’t be able to go to a restaurant, they won’t be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop at a department store.”
“The people are going to turn on them,” she added. “They’re going to protest. They’re absolutely going to harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the president, ‘No, I can’t hang with you.'”
The Sanders confrontation occurred after a rough week filled with backlash against the Trump administration over an immigration enforcement policy that separated children from their illegal immigrant parents at the border.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) introduced a measure Monday to censure Waters on the House floor. Although Ryan called for Waters to apologize, he ignored Biggs’ censure proposal.
“Individuals have the right to debate their differences civilly, without fear of retribution. Unfortunately, Maxine Waters’ comments condone public violence and encourage actions that jeopardize the safety and security of government officials and the American people,” Biggs said in a statement Monday.
“Those determined to undermine the progress and agenda of President Donald J. Trump, have taken it upon themselves to demonize their opposition,” he continued. “As members of Congress we have the responsibility to lead by example, and this rhetoric is simply unacceptable.”
Biggs also highlighted the June 2017 congressional baseball shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, carried out by a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and three other people were seriously wounded that day.
“A little over a year ago, we witnessed a horrific shooting targeted at congressional Republicans. That day, we promised that we would be better; that we would argue about ideas not people,” Biggs said. “Unfortunately, we are returning to the vitriol of that day.”
Ryan’s comment followed his meeting earlier Tuesday with an estimated 100 House Republicans who, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) told Laura Ingraham during an interview on her radio program, pushed the Speaker to censure Waters.
“It was discussed about an hour ago,” Norman told Ingraham. “We are calling for Speaker Ryan to make a public statement on the House floor to call attention to this type of activity. It’s unfair, it’s unfounded. He is well aware of the problems, and as of an hour ago we made it loud and clear.”
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said Tuesday on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” that the “hard Left in this country is just totally off the rails.”
“And Maxine Waters is really the pied piper for the unhinged Left with her rantings and ravings, which has been going on for a long time, but what she did this weekend I think crossed a clear line,” DeSantis said. “She was inciting people, I think it was, to violence, but certainly to do things that are outside of the democratic tradition by harassing people.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered a tepid rebuke of Waters Monday on Twitter, writing, “In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea.”
In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea. https://t.co/vlpqOBLK4R
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) June 25, 2018
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) offered a stronger rebuke of Waters, saying Monday on the Senate floor, “I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don’t agree with you. No one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right. That’s not American.”
Trump denounced Waters and Pelosi Tuesday on Twitter when he dubbed Waters the “face of the Democrats.”
“The face of the Democrats is now Maxine Waters who, together with Nancy Pelosi, have established a fine leadership team,” Trump tweeted. “They should always stay together and lead the Democrats, who want Open Borders and Unlimited Crime, well into the future….and pick Crooked Hillary for Pres.”
The face of the Democrats is now Maxine Waters who, together with Nancy Pelosi, have established a fine leadership team. They should always stay together and lead the Democrats, who want Open Borders and Unlimited Crime, well into the future….and pick Crooked Hillary for Pres.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 26, 2018
(photo credit, homepage image: Paul Ryan, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore / Maxine Waters, CC BY 2.0, by mark6mauno; photo credit, article image: Paul Ryan, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore / Representative Maxine Waters, CC BY-ND 2.0, by majunznk)