Letters to the Editor — April 21, 2021
After Chauvin trial, politicians must turn down the temperature
Chauvin may be guilty — but Waters, Biden made sure this case will drag on
Democrats side with Waters, censure fails over call for Floyd protesters to ‘confront’
Rep. Maxine Waters thanked Democrats for blocking Republicans’ censure effort over her urging protesters to be “more confrontational” with police if Derek Chauvin was acquitted — especially lawmakers representing districts with “a lot of racism,” she added.
Waters (D-Calif.) made the remarks while speaking to MSNBC’s “The Reid Out” Tuesday evening after being asked about the controversy surrounding her comments in Minneapolis over the weekend.
“Of course, I’m criticized all the time, and of course, the Republicans make a target of me, but as you know, I am passionate on these issues,” the House Financial Services Committee chairwoman began.
“I’m so sorry that it causes pain oftentimes with my colleagues,” she continued. “Many times they’re in these districts where they are frightened, where they have a lot of racism, where they haven’t moved to the point that they can have a decent conversation about these issues and sometimes it’s very difficult for them.”
The 82-year-old congresswoman appeared to be referencing Democratic lawmakers who represent conservative or swing districts, many of which reacted positively to the initial tenets of the racial justice movement that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, but soured on the protests after some turned into riots.
Despite their “racism”-filled districts, Waters said, those House Democrats “stood up with me today” after Republicans “put me up for censure because of my visit to Minneapolis.”
“My colleagues stood with me, and they voted to table the motion that was put up to censure me because the Republicans love to use me as a target,” she continued, turning her attention toward the GOP.
“They raise money on my back,” she said, quoting the party as saying when fundraising, “‘That’s Maxine Waters, that black woman, who is so uppity, and who is someone we can’t control. You’ve got to make sure that I have enough money to keep her from getting re-elected.’”
“And I keep getting re-elected, and these poor people, many of them retirees, they keep giving them their money. They don’t seem to understand they’re not going to get me out of office,” said the California Democrat, who represents the deep-blue Los Angeles area. “I’m here until I decide to retire.”
Waters then defended the remarks that landed her in hot water by claiming the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had embraced “confrontation” in his civil rights endeavors.
“A lot of people see that as being bad, and they try to turn my words into something about violence. It’s not about violence. Martin Luther King was about nonviolence. I am nonviolent. Confrontation was used in the sit-ins, for the civil rights legislation, the marches, the prayers. All of that is confrontation.”
Republicans’ effort to censure Waters failed in the House on Tuesday in a party-line vote, 216-210.
On Sunday, Waters joined hundreds of protesters in Brooklyn Center, Minn., demonstrating against the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man shot by a white police officer who thought she was pulling out her Taser.
The suspect, former officer Kim Potter, has since been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
The city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota were already on edge in the wake of the Chauvin trial and several nights of riots.
The California lawmaker told the crowd at what was the seventh night of demonstrations after Wright’s killing, “We’ve got to stay in the streets, and we’ve got to demand justice.”
“We’re looking for a guilty verdict,” she continued, referring to Chauvin. “And we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd. If nothing does not happen, then we know that we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice.”
Waters went on to say that she was “hopeful” that Chauvin would be convicted, “and if we don’t [get the verdict], we cannot go away.”
Asked if that meant a manslaughter conviction but a murder acquittal would be adequate, Waters said no.
“Oh no, not manslaughter, no no,” she remarked. “This is guilty for murder. I don’t know if it was in the first degree, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s first-degree murder.”
As for what the protesters should do if they didn’t get the verdict they wanted, Waters said, “We got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”
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