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No, Maxine Waters never incited a deadly riot no matter what Trump lawyers say

In 2018, Rep. Maxine Waters urged people to protest the separation of immigrant families by the Trump administration.

By Josh Israel - February 12, 2021
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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)

Donald Trump’s lawyers on Friday defended Donald Trump against charges of inciting an insurrection by falsely suggesting Democratic politicians have done the same thing.

Included in a long montage of Democratic politicians saying the word “fight” was a video of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) saying “you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Like the rest of the clips in the long video, the clip was taken out of context.

For one, Democrats like Waters never incited an insurrection. And Trump’s call for his supporters to “fight” came after a long campaign to rile those supporters up, tell them the election was stolen, and then send them to “fight” at the Capitol while Congress was getting ready to certify President Joe Biden’s victory.

Waters has denied that comments she made in 2018 urging citizens to hold Trump administration officials accountable for their family separation policy were a call for violence, and legal scholars back her up.

Waters said:

We want the children back. We want them connected to their parents. We want it done now. We are going to insist on it. If you think we’re rallying out here, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

 

Already, you have members of your Cabinet that have been booed out of restaurants, who have protesters taking up at their house who sang, “No peace, no sleep. No peace, no sleep.” And guess what, we’re going to win this battle … so let’s stay the course. 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 and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere … Mr. President, we will see you everyday, every hour of the day, everywhere that we are to let you know you cannot get away with this.

Maxine Waters: Trump should be charged with pre-meditated murder,” tweeted Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) on Feb. 3. “Also Maxine Waters: If you see anybody from the Trump Administration in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you create a crowd. And you push back on them. Who’s the one inciting violence?” Republican Reps. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida also accused Waters of inciting violence.

While Republicans and some Democrats said Waters had pushed the bounds of “civility” with her comments in 2018, Kermit Roosevelt III, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told PolitiFact that Waters’ comments were not an incitement to violence: “Waters is encouraging protest and harassment (both of which are usually protected by the First Amendment, although at some point harassment would not be).”

Trump claimed that Waters, whom he called “an extraordinarily low IQ person,” had called for “harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement.”

“Trump is the one who’s creating lies, trying to have people believe that I talked about harming people. There is nowhere in my statement — any time, any place — that I talked about harm,” Waters responded.

Trump, on the other hand, has a long and documented history of inciting his followers to violence, of which his behavior after the 2020 presidential election is only the latest example.

After losing the election to Biden, Trump spent two months falsely declaring himself to be the real winner and falsely claiming that widespread voter fraud was the only reason it appeared Biden had won. He urged supporters to come to the U.S. Capitol on the day Congress would be certifying the results of voting in the Electoral College for what he said would be a “wild” protest.

After speaking at a “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 and telling the crowd he would accompany them to the Capitol — which he didn’t do — Trump released a video as his supporters rioted, telling them, “We love you. You’re very special.”

Republicans have also compared objections by Waters and a handful of other Democrats to certification of Trump’s 2016 victory in the Electoral College, with Rep. Matt Gaetz tweeting in December, “A Republican President hasn’t been sworn in absent dem congressional objection since 1988. But if we object we are traitors.”

But Waters and her colleagues, who objected to the certification over charges of Russian interference in the election and of voter suppression, and who had little support from their fellow Congress members for their attempt to stop it, did not engage in a long campaign of election disinformation. They also accepted the decision of the joint session to certify the result.

It was Vice President Joe Biden who cut off debate on certification of the 2016 results.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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