Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, says he believes he can get as many as 15 Democrats to vote to censure Rep. Maxine Waters for telling protesters in Minnesota to “get more confrontational” if a jury acquits former police officer Derek Chauvin.
“I know there are probably 10 to 15 who would love to vote [for censure]. It will all come down to the pressure of what Democrats will put on them to just try to vote to table it — not even to have the discussion,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on “Fox News Primetime” Monday night.
“And if they hold together, then they are going to own what not only Maxine Waters has been saying but what Tlaib and the others about removing police officers and others. This has gone on too far and for too long,” he added, referring to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who called for abolishing the police.
McCarthy, who has told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to take action against Waters (D-Calif.) or that he will, said Waters deserves to be censured by her House colleagues.
“I believe it rises to that level because Maxine Waters believes there is value in violence,” the Republican told Fox News.
“And now what she has said has even put doubt into a jury. You had a judge announce that it was wrong. I think this takes action especially when she has a pattern of this behavior,” he continued.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill slammed Waters for making the comments early Sunday in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, where 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot a week earlier by police after a traffic stop.
Cahill was responding to a request from Chauvin’s defense lawyer Eric Nelson to declare a mistrial because of Waters’ fiery rhetoric.
“I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Cahill told Nelson as he denied the motion.
“This goes back to what I’ve been saying from the beginning,” he said. “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.”
Waters denied that she is condoning violence and told The Grio she will not be influenced by criticism.
“Republicans will jump on any word, any line and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent,” she told the outlet. “Any time they see an opportunity to seize on a word, so they do it and they send a message to all of the white supremacists, the KKK, the Oath Keepers, the [Proud] Boys and all of that, how this is a time for [Republicans] to raise money on [Democrats’] backs.”
Waters’ comments in Minnesota came as the state is on edge following Wright’s shooting and Chauvin’s murder trial for the killing of George Floyd last May.
The Chauvin jury began their deliberations Monday afternoon.
Former police officer Kim Potter has been charged with manslaughter in Wright’s fatal shooting.
Potter, who has resigned, said she mistook her service weapon for her Taser when she fired on him.