LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus is defending Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters for telling an audience to “push back” on members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet in public settings.
Waters’ remarks came the same week that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen left a different restaurant after protesters began shouting at her.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that Waters should apologize.
But Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond says it’s clear Waters didn’t incite violence and instead was encouraging Americans to exercise their constitutional rights to speak out against separating immigrant children from their parents.
Richmond says Trump often says something that “makes this country more dangerous” for minorities.
He says, “Where is the national conversation on civility in these moments?”
In a tweet Monday, Trump called Waters “an extraordinarily low IQ person” and accused her of calling for “harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement.”
At a rally held over the weekend, Waters was heard on video encouraging supporters to target members of the Trump administration who are seen out in public.
“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up,” she said on Saturday. “And if you see anybody from that 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.”
She later clarified her remarks during an appearance on CNN: “I believe in peaceful, very peaceful protests…I have not called for the harm of anybody. This President has lied again when he’s saying that I’ve called for harm.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)