“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.”
Republicans were quick to respond after Waters made her comments. On Sunday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said she would introduce a resolution to expel Waters from Congress, an effort that will likely fail in a Democratic-led House. Later that day, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Twitter that he would take action against Waters if Pelosi did not.
“Maxine Waters is inciting violence in Minneapolis — just as she has incited it in the past,” McCarthy wrote. “If Speaker Pelosi doesn’t act against this dangerous rhetoric, I will bring action this week.”
GOP lawmakers also took to the Senate and House floors on Monday to voice their displeasure over Waters’ behavior.
“It’s harder to imagine anything more inappropriate than a member of Congress flying in from California to inform local leaders, not so subtly, that this defendant had better be found guilty or else there will be big trouble in the streets,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) said in a floor speech that if a Republican had done what Waters did, the Democrats would move to strip that lawmaker of their committee assignments and possibly expel them from Congress. Instead of Waters apologizing, Pelosi later told a reporter, “that woman on the floor should be apologizing for what she said.”
Waters told The Grio on Monday that her remarks were about “confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on,” through legislation and “speaking up.”
“I am not worried that they’re going to continue to distort what I say,” she said. “This is who they are and this is how they act. And I’m not going to be bullied by them.”
The California Democrat has a reputation for being outspoken, which drew the ire of President Donald Trump, who called her “an extraordinarily low IQ person” while he was in office. Waters, in turn, has labeled the former president a “monster” and an “incompetent idiot” on Twitter.
She also drew attention last week over a testy exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who she thought was bullying Anthony Fauci while he was testifying during a House coronavirus subcommittee hearing.
“Your time has expired, sir,” she said to Jordan, who continued to speak after his time for questioning had expired. “You need to respect the chair and shut your mouth.”