House

Ryan calls on Maxine Waters to apologize for urging harassment of Trump officials

Greg Nash

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday called on Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) to apologize for urging supporters to “confront” and “harass” top Trump officials in restaurants and other public places.

“There is no place for this. She obviously should apologize,” Ryan told reporters at the Capitol.

{mosads}“When we, in this democracy, are suggesting that because we disagree with each other’s political views and policy views and philosophical views, that we should resort to violence and harassment and intimidation, that’s dangerous for our society, that’s dangerous for our democracy,” Ryan continued. “She should apologize and there is just no place for that in our public discourse.”

Waters, who has voted to impeach President Trump, said at a rally over the weekend that those who oppose Trump’s policies should confront his Cabinet members wherever they encounter them.

“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,” Waters said in Los Angeles.

Her comments came after a restaurant owner in Virginia refused to serve White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and protesters ran Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen out of a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Waters defended her remarks in multiple media interviews and again to House Democratic colleagues during a private caucus meeting Tuesday morning. According to lawmakers in the room, Waters said she has a right to express herself under the First Amendment and that she does not support or condone violence.

However, Trump suggested Monday that Waters had called on Democrats to “harm” his supporters.

“Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. 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!”

Lawmakers from both parties have experienced violent confrontations first hand. In January 2011, then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) was nearly killed in a shooting in Tucson that left six dead and many others injured. And last summer, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was critically injured after a gunman opened fire on Republicans practicing in Alexandria, Va., for a charity baseball game.

“We’ve got to be real careful about how we discuss our differences,” Scalise told reporters Tuesday. “Nobody should be inciting harassment or violence of any sort just because we disagree with each other on issues.”

Tags Donald Trump Kirstjen Nielsen Maxine Waters Nancy Pelosi Paul Ryan Steve Scalise
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