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No apologies: Nancy Pelosi defends Rep. Maxine Waters from GOP demands for expulsion

No apologies: Nancy Pelosi defends Rep. Maxine Waters from GOP demands for expulsion

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) doesn’t need to worry about being expelled from Congress — as some of her Republican colleagues have called for — after the outspoken lawmaker made some politically controversial statements over the weekend in Minnesota where the trial of Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is wrapping up closing arguments.

None other than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) lept to the activist legislator’s defense when questioned by reporters seeking her comments on Rep. Waters’ statement that racial justice advocates need to “stay on the street” and “get more confrontational” if the police don’t stop the extra-judicial killings of people that they detain.

“I hope we’re going to get a verdict that will say guilty, guilty, guilty. And if we don’t, we cannot go away,” Rep. Waters said of Officer Chauvin’s trial while visiting Brooklyn Center, the Minneapolis suburb where Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by police last week.

Congresswoman Waters’ insistent plea for justice was met by outrage on the Republican side of Congress.

In addition to furious responses to Water’s comments by the most extreme of her GOP colleagues — like her polar opposite, the QAnon-spouting Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) slammed his fellow Californian and threatened retaliation for a comment that he saw as a call to disruptive rioting.

“Maxine Waters is inciting violence in Minneapolis – just as she has incited it in the past. If Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi doesn’t act against this dangerous rhetoric, I will bring action this week.”

If McCarthy expected Speaker Pelosi to turn against a member of her own party when no Republican has faced consequences for their statements that could be much more easily linked to the violent incursion of their own chambers on Capitol Hill, he is sadly mistaken.

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When asked if Maxine Waters needed to apologize for her defiant call for justice, Pelosi immediately shot back:

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“No, she doesn’t!”

Pelosi went on to reference comments by Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-MI), who condemned Waters’ comments in a floor speech shortly after Pelosi gaveled the House into session for the day.

“Once again, this weekend, we saw a member of the majority openly call for more confrontation in a Minneapolis suburb,” McClain said during her congressional speech. “That very night, there was a drive-by shooting in that community where police and the National Guardsmen were targeted. If this were reversed, if this was said by a Republican, you know that the majority in this chamber would move to strip that representative of their committees and possibly to expel them from Congress.”

The House Speaker wasn’t buying Rep. McClain’s argument.

“That woman on the floor should be apologizing for what she said.”

“Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the civil rights movement,” Pelosi said. “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. No, I don’t think she should apologize.”

Further pressed by journalists as to whether Waters’ comments could possibly incite violence, Pelosi was adamant.

“No, absolutely not.”

Congresswoman Waters herself had no illusions about the lengths that Republicans will go to in order to discredit her message of the necessity of justice being delivered on behalf of George Floyd and all the other victims of unwarranted police violence.

“Republicans will jump on any word, any line and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent … anytime they see an opportunity to seize on a word, so they do it, and they send a message to all of the white supremacists, the KKK, the Oath Keepers, the [Proud] Boys and all of that how this is a time for [Republicans] to raise money on [Democrats’] backs,” Waters said.

“This is a time for [Republicans] to keep telling our constituents that [Democrats] are the enemy and they do that time and time again,” Waters said, describing the GOP’s strategy. “But that does not deter me from speaking truth to power. I am not intimidated. I am not afraid, and I do what needs to be done.”

With the full support of the House Speaker, Rep. Waters can continue to speak truth to power and raise her voice against injustice.

There are oh so many Republican members of Congress who deserve expulsion for their seditious activities well before any unwarranted sanctions on “Auntie Maxine,” as her supporters like to call her, should be considered.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter. 

Original reporting by Dominick Mastrangelo at The Hill and by Martin Pengelly at the Guardian.

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