Waters defends remarks about confronting Trump officials: 'Protest is the democratic way'

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOvernight Health Care: White House projects grim death toll from coronavirus | Trump warns of 'painful' weeks ahead | US surpasses China in official virus deaths | CDC says 25 percent of cases never show symptoms Democrats, Trump set to battle over implementing T relief bill Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: 'Stop congratulating yourself! You're a failure' MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday defended her calls for supporters to confront Trump administration officials in public places, but emphasized that she believes in peaceful protests. 

Waters took questions on Monday hours after President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign: Trump and former vice president will have phone call about coronavirus Esper: Military personnel could help treat coronavirus patients 'if push comes to shove' Schumer calls for military official to act as medical equipment czar MORE attacked her on Twitter, calling her “low IQ” and insinuating that she could face harassment for her remarks. 

“I have nothing to do with the way people decide to protest. Protest is the democratic way as long as it is peaceful,” Waters said.

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“I believe in peaceful protest. It is guaranteed to you in a democracy,” she added. 

Waters said her remarks, made Saturday at a Los Angeles rally, stemmed from frustration over the Trump administration’s practice of separating families at the southern border. 

“For these members of his Cabinet who remain and try to defend him, they're not going to be able to go to a restaurant, they're not going to be able to stop at a gas station, they're not going to be able to shop at a department store, the people are going to turn on them, they're going to protest, they're going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they're going to tell the president ‘No, I can't hang with you, this is wrong, this is unconscionable and we can't keep doing this to children,’ ” she said.

Her comments came one day after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was refused service at a Virginia restaurant. The owner cited Sanders’s support for Trump’s policies in asking her to leave.

“I did not create that, I did not design that, but I support their right to protest,” Waters said of the incident.

Trump took aim at Waters early Monday, tweeting that she “has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement,” Trump tweeted. “Be careful what you wish for Max!”

Waters disputed that she talked about physically harming his supporters.

“Trump is the one who is creating lies, trying to have people believe that I talked about harming people. There’s nowhere in my statement anytime, any place that we talked about harm,” she said.

“Protest is about peaceful resistance to the kind of actions that we are experiencing from this president,” she added. 

Democrats on Monday largely sought to tamp down the furor over Waters’s remarks.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell launches ad touting role in passing coronavirus relief Joe Biden can't lead the charge from his home in Delaware Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill MORE (D-N.Y.) called it “not American” to harass political opponents. And House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSchumer calls for military official to act as medical equipment czar Overnight Health Care: Trump resists pressure for nationwide stay-at-home order | Trump open to speaking to Biden about virus response | Fauci gets security detail | Outbreak creates emergency in nursing homes McConnell: Pelosi trying to 'jam' Senate on fourth coronavirus relief bill MORE (D-Calif.) said tit-for-tat responses to Trump’s attacks are “unacceptable,” and called for unity.