The Representative for California’s 43rd District Maxine Waters is under political fire over her comments on a BLM protest in Minnesota yesterday. Last week, Waters said to a crowd of protestors that if the police officer Derek Chauvin is found not guilty in his trial for the death of George Floyd last year, they should “stay on the streets, get more active, more confrontational” and that if “nothing happens” then there’s no other option but “to stay on the streets ” and “fight for justice”.
Both the prosecution and the defense teams ended final remarks today, and a verdict is expected in the following days. The prosecution argued that the video of Officer Chauvin pressing his knee against Mr Floyd for more than 8 minutes is sufficient evidence for a conviction, while the defense said that the prosecution did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that officer Chauving was guilty of the death of George Floyd.
Waters delivered her comments while standing in a city living on the edge, with Minnesota Public Radio reporting that the Police arrested over 130 people last Friday after another night of protests in the city over the Chauvin trial.
The situation in Minnesota is very tense and there are fears that further civil unrest could follow if the jury finds the officer not guilty. Even state troopers from Ohio and Nebraska being sent to help Minnesota’s operation of public safety (called Safety Net) in light of the Chauvin Trial.
Condemned by Republicans
Waters’ comments are already putting her under heavy fire from Republican lawmakers, media outlets, and even the officing judge of the Chauvin trial. With many accusing her of inflaming an already delicate situation and impeding the proper delivery of justice in the case.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has openly condemned Waters’ statements, saying the Representative had “broken the law by violating curfew”, that she was “inciting violence” and that he would introduce a motion to censure the Representative, in an exclusive interview to Breitbart.
In order for a motion of censure to get approved by the House, it only needs for a majority vote. Currently, Democrats have a majority in the chamber, albeit a slim one, with only 218 seating members to the GOP’s 212, meaning that Democrats could afford losing only four votes if they want to defeat the measure.
It is unlikely that Maxine Waters’ comment would hurt her politically, as Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) has already said that she stands behind her fellow congresswoman. Pelosi has said that Waters should not apologize, as she thinks her comments do not incite violence and that the word “confrontation” should be taken only into the context of the civil rights movement.
Rep. Waters has refused to back down from her statements, in an exclusive interview to TheGrio she said she’s “not worried that they (the GOP) are going to continue to distort what I say” and that when she talked about confrontation, she did not mean violence but she was “talking about speaking up, about passing legislation”
However, not all of the liberal-leaning media has been as forgiving with Rep. Waters as Speaker Pelosi, with CNN publishing a short Op-Ed (penned by one of their editors-in-chief) condemning the “irresponsible” rhetoric coming from Rep. Waters in a time as tense and delicate as this one, especially as she is an elected official.
It appears that judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the case of Derek Chauvin, agrees with this diagnostic. Although the judge did not grant the defense’s request of declaring a mistrial, he did say the Congresswoman’s comments were “abhorrent” and he commented during the final day of proceedings Rep. Waters actions could give grounds for Chauvin’s defense to appeal the judgement that could overturn the entire process.
Rep. Waters’ fiery speech in Minnesota is not the first time she has been involved in a controversy of this type, in 2018 she encouraged supporters to harass Trump’s cabinet members wherever they saw them as to let them know they were “no longer welcomed anywhere”
Maxine Waters also made some very controversial remarks in 1992, in the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots that followed the infamous acquittal of the police officers who beat Rodney King, when she refused to call the unrest a riot, saying that she considered them to be “a rebellion”.
The verdict of Derek Chauvin is posing to be the new saga on the divisive issue of race in America, presenting elected officials of both parties the opportunity to either work towards unifying the country, or gain political points by inflaming the already fraught racial relations in the nation.