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

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersElection Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Trump rebukes Holder, Clinton with 'jobs not mobs' refrain On The Money: Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia | Treasury releases guidance on 'opportunity zone' program | Maxine Waters gets company in new GOP line of attack 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 TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation 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 SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers MORE (D-N.Y.) called it “not American” to harass political opponents. And House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Democratic candidate denounces attack ads on rap career MORE (D-Calif.) said tit-for-tat responses to Trump’s attacks are “unacceptable,” and called for unity.