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Maxine Waters Defends Comment Encouraging Harassment of Trump Officials

By BRITTANY BERNSTEIN

is defending her 2018 comments in which she encouraged her supporters to “absolutely harass” Trump administration officials over their “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

MSNBC’s Ali Velshi asked Waters on Sunday if she had ever “glorified or encouraged” violence against Republicans, as her two-year-old comments have recently resurfaced amid discussions of the increasingly dangerous partisan rhetoric in the U.S.

“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,” Waters said. “[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.”

However, in 2018, after then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former press secretary Sarah Sanders were confronted with their families in public over family separation at the border, Waters encouraged more of the same.

“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,” she said.

She added: “The people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them.” “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 mention Waters’ 2018 comments in his arguments during the trial this week. Fox News’ Laura Ingraham asked Castor if he plans to use “dueling video” as Democrats will argue that Trump incited the January 6 Capitol riot.

“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.” Meanwhile, Waters came under fire last week for saying she believes Trump should be charged with “premeditated murder” for the riot, which left five people dead.

“He absolutely should be charged with premeditated murder because of the lives that were lost for this invasion with his insurrection,” she said in an appearance on MSNBC last week. “For the President of the United States to sit and watch the invasion and the insurrection and not say a word because he knew he had absolutely initiated it – and as some of them said, ‘he invited us to come. We’re here at the invitation of the President of the United States.”

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