Maxine Waters: If you want to talk about civility, start with Trump

Maxine Waters: If you want to talk about civility, start with Trump
© Greg Nash

Reps. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersFive challenges facing new consumer bureau chief Democrats must stand up for Israel The Year Ahead: Tough tests loom for Trump trade agenda MORE (D-Calif.) and Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingRare bipartisanship in lame duck Congress battling the ‘WTO’ of insurance regulation On The Money: Markets roiled by trade tensions | Rally on hopes of Fed pause on rate hikes | Senate sends two-week spending measure to Trump | Consumer bureau pick confirmed | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 McHenry to lead GOP on banking panel, duel with Maxine Waters MORE (R-Texas) traded barbs Wednesday over controversial comments the Democrat made last weekend about how Trump officials should be treated in public.

Waters defended her Saturday call for Americans to confront Trump administration employees in public places, saying the president has been “advocating pure violence” since his 2016 presidential campaign.

“If you want to talk about civility, you start with the president of the United States,” said Waters, ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, at the panel’s Wednesday hearing.

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Waters listed several occasions when Trump called on his supporters to use violence against protestors and critics during campaign rallies, and called on Republicans to condemn him for his comments.

“You implore him not to continue to promote violence, not to continue to promote divisiveness and then I think he would be a better example," Waters said.

Hensarling, the committee’s chairman, scolded Waters, invoking last year’s congressional baseball practice shooting and the consequences of violent rhetoric.

“We all know that words matter. I know that [Rep.] Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTrump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming Overnight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force House lawmakers delay decision on Saudi Arabia pending investigation MORE [(R-La.)] believes this, and if you listened to him yesterday, you will know passionately he does,” said Hensarling, referring to the House Majority Whip who suffered near-fatal injuries in the shooting.

Hensarling also compared Waters’ comments to the historic racial segregation of blacks from restaurants.

“There was a time in America’s history when you could be denied service in a restaurant based on the color of your skin—now, apparently, it’s the color of your voter registration card,” Hensarling said.

The Dallas congressman said that he’d welcome all of his colleagues regardless of the political beliefs to his restaurant if he owned one, and would ask his supporters “to surround you with Texas friendly hospitality.”

Waters sparked outrage among Republicans, including the president, when she said during a Saturday rally in Los Angeles that "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.”

Democrats sought to distance themselves from Waters' comments Tuesday, though some liberal pundits and activists defended the California congresswoman.

The dispute came at the start of a hearing with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTop HUD official under Carson resigns Homelessness rates increase in US for second straight year Interior chief Zinke to leave administration MORE, a frequently target of Democrats including Waters, who has called Carson "an educated fool" who "doesn't care about people in public housing."