(USA Features) Rep. Maxine Waters on Monday dismissed criticism from the judge overseeing the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after she appeared to suggest that protesters should become violent if jurors did not return a guilty verdict for murder in the death of George Floyd.
On Saturday, Waters pressed demonstrators to “get more confrontational” if Chauvin is not convicted on a murder charge.
“We’ve got to stay on the street, and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational,” she said, as shown on Unicorn Riot video. “We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”
Her comments led Chauvin’s defense team to request a mistrial, and while Judge Peter Cahill overruled the request, he nonetheless was critical of Waters’ comments.
“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Cahill said as arguments concluded and the case fell to the jury.
“I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function,” Cahill added. “I think if they want to give their opinions, they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution, to respect a coequal branch of government.”
In an interview with CNN, however, Waters pushed back on allegations she was attempting to incite violence and influence the jurors, saying they were meant in the context of the civil rights movement’s nonviolent history and adding that “the whole civil rights movement is confrontation.”
But Republicans have also heavily criticized the California Democrat for her comments during what many observers see as a highly volatile situation simmering once again in the formerly tranquil city of Minneapolis.
“Telling rioters who have burned buildings, looted stores, and assaulted journalists to get ‘more confrontational’ is incredibly irresponsible. Every House Democrat should condemn Maxine Waters’ call for violence,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Berg told Fox News.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., vowed Monday to take action against Waters to include a motion to censure, while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., planned to introduce a motion to expel Waters from the chamber.