House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Monday that when House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., requested anti-police protesters get “more confrontational” if a jury chooses not to convict former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, then she “finds value in violence.”
McCarthy told host Ben Domenech on “Fox News Primetime” that this is not the first example of Waters, 82, urging unrest to reach political ends.
She previously told a crowd in California in 2018 to “get in the face” of Trump administration staffers if they recognize them in public. The Los Angeles lawmaker also spoke at an LGBT group gala in New York in 2017, where she made headlines for declaring that she was “inspired” by the event to “go and take Trump out.”
Waters later defended the latter comments, telling CNN’s Christopher Cuomo at the time that “nobody believes” she was threatening an attempt on the then-president’s life, and that it is “absolutely ridiculous” for people to think “a grandmother who is a congresswoman… for all of these years would be talking about doing any harm.”
On “Fox News Primetime,” McCarthy said Waters’ most recent incendiary remarks indeed rise to the level of congressional censure.
“I believe it rises to that level because Maxine Waters believes there is value in violence,” he said. “And now what she has said has even put doubt into a jury. You had a judge announce that it was wrong. I think this takes action especially when she has a pattern of this behavior.”
Judge Peter Cahill, presiding over the George Floyd case, had suggested Monday that Waters comments provide a potential avenue for an appeal on the part of former Officer Derek Chauvin if the jury rules against him.
McCarthy said he hopes his censure motion will be successful, but added that his presumed dozen or so Democratic House members who would otherwise support a censure may be cowed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to go along with the rest of the party.
“I know there are probably 10 to 15 who would love to vote [for censure]. It will all come down to the pressure of what Democrats will put on them to just try to vote to table it — not even to have the discussion,,” he said.
“And if they hold together, then they are going to own what not only Maxine Waters has been saying but what Tlaib and the others about removing police officers and others. This has gone on too far and for too long.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat, recently called for essentially abolishing police, which she tweeted in reaction to the death of a young motorist in Brooklyn Center, Minn., who was involved in a scuffle with an officer who claims to have accidentally drawn her service weapon instead of her taser to subdue him.
McCarthy later added that if the Democrat-controlled House fails to censure Waters, they will effectively take responsibility for egregious rhetoric offered by their members, pointing in addition to Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who has made remarks about Israel many believe to be anti-Semitic.
“I don’t think that’s where the American public is, but it seems that the Democratic Party isn’t where it used to be. The socialist Democrats have taken over this leadership and Nancy Pelosi has actually helped along with it and supports it,” he said.
The last successful censure motion was lodged in 2010 against former Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., as the Harlem congressman was accused of failure to report income from a Punta Cana, D.R., villa, and improper solicitation of political funds.
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In a 333-79 House vote, Rangel was formally censured, following the failure of Rep. G.K. Butterfield’s, D-N.C., motion for a lesser ‘reprimand’.
Most of the successful congressional censures over the decades have been for use of “unparliamentary language” by lawmakers.