White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki directly dodged answering whether President Joe Biden agrees with controversial remarks made by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) over the weekend where she urged protestors to “get more confrontational” in the light that Derek Chauvin is acquitted of murder for the death of George Floyd, while also refusing to condemn the California congresswoman incendiary rhetoric.
CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins on Monday asked Psaki about Waters’ remarks and whether Biden also agreed that people need to get “more confrontational.”
“Congresswoman Maxine Waters said over the weekend that, ‘We’ve 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.’ Does the President agree with what she said about getting more confrontational?” Collins asked Psaki during Monday’s daily press briefing.
Psaki in her response appeared to distance itself from Waters’ comment but also refused to condemn Democrat Congresswoman.
“Well, I can speak to the President’s view. He has been very clear that he recognizes the issue of police violence against people of color, communities of color, is one of great anguish and it’s exhausting and quite emotional at times,” Psaki said in response to CNN question.
“His view is also that exercising First Amendment rights and protesting injustice is the most American thing that anyone can do. But as he also always says, protests must be peaceful. That’s what he continues to call for and what he continues to believe is the right way to approach responding,” Psaki added.
Over the weekend, Waters swooped into Brooklyn Center, Minnesota and appeared at an anti-police brutality Saturday evening. Breaking the law by violating curfew, Waters told demonstrators that they need to “stay on the street,” while “get more active” by demanding justice through the means of getting “more confrontational” if the former police officer isn’t found guilty of murdering Floyd
“We’ve got to stay in the streets, and we’ve got to demand justice,” Waters told the crowd of protestors and reporters.
“We’re looking for a guilty verdict,” Waters continued, referencing Chauvin’s trial. “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.”
The California Democrat said she was “hopeful” that Chauvin would be convicted of murder, but if he isn’t, “we cannot go away.”
When asked what the protesters should do if they don’t get the verdict they want, Waters replied, “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.”
Waters reportedly said she plans to stay in Minnesota until Monday when closing arguments for the Chauvin trial are being presented, according to New York Times.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) defended Waters, saying her fellow Democratic congresswoman does not need to apologize.
“No, she doesn’t,” Pelosi said. “Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the civil rights movement.”
“I, myself, think we should take our lead from the George Floyd family,” Pelosi continued. “They’ve handled this with great dignity, and no ambiguity or lack of — misinterpretation by the other side.”
Pelosi added, “No, I don’t think she should apologize.”
While Democrats refused to call out Waters, Republicans on the other hand have seized and condemned Waters for her incendiary remarks.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) accused Waters of “inciting violence” with her remarks and warned that if Pelosi refused to disavow them, he would “bring action” this week.
“Maxine Waters is inciting violence in Minneapolis — just as she has incited it in the past,” McCarthy shared in a tweet late Sunday evening. “If Speaker Pelosi doesn’t act against this dangerous rhetoric, I will bring action this week.”
Earlier on Sunday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) in a statement said that she will “be introducing a resolution to expel Rep. Maxine Waters from Congress for her continual incitement of violence.”
Rep. Bryon Donalds (R-FL) blasted Pelosi for refusing to condemn Waters’ “violent rhetoric,” but noted he is not surprised by the “double standard.”
Nancy Pelosi refusing to condemn Maxine Waters's violent rhetoric is hypocritical, but not surprising. As Speaker, she has led with a double standard & refuses to hold Democrats accountable.
It's clear now Nancy Pelosi caters to the woke leftist mob that she helped cultivate. https://t.co/taV86t6lqr
— Congressman Byron Donalds (@RepDonaldsPress) April 19, 2021
Waters, who has served in Congress since 1991, has encouraged such behaviors, including back in 2018 when she called on citizens to publicly confront and harass Trump administration officials in response to the “zero tolerance” policy.
“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. 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,” Waters said during a Los Angeles rally back in June 2018. “And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”