WH on Waters' Confrontational Comments: 'Protests Must Be Peaceful' White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily press briefing at the White House. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Solange Reyner | Monday, 19 April 2021 06:01 PM
The Biden administration is contradicting Rep. Maxine Waters’ calls over the weekend for demonstrators in Minnesota to “get more active, more confrontational” if jurors delivered a not guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters the president believes “protests must be peaceful.”
"He has been very clear that he recognizes the issue of police violence against people of color, communities of color, is one of great anguish, and it's exhausting and quite emotional at times," Psaki said during Monday’s press briefing. "His view is also that exercising First Amendment rights and protesting injustice is the most American thing anyone can do. He also always says protests must be peaceful. That's what he continues to call for and what he continues to believe is the right way to approach responding."
Waters made the comments during a Black Lives Matter protest over the weekend.
“We’re looking for a guilty verdict,” she said outside the police station in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, where people were protesting the police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who died after a police officer said she mistook her gun for her Taser.
“And we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd — if nothing does not happen, then we know that we’ve got to not only stay in the street, but we’ve got to fight for justice.”
Chauvin is facing trial for the death of George Floyd just a few miles away from the Brooklyn Center. Floyd died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine-plus minutes during an arrest.
A decision could be coming this week.
Waters, D-Calif., who defended herself in an interview with theGrio, drew criticism from Republicans for her comments.
"Maxine Waters is inciting violence in Minneapolis — just as she has incited it in the past," tweeted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican. "If Speaker Pelosi doesn't act against this dangerous rhetoric, I will bring action this week."
"Telling rioters who have burned buildings, looted stores and assaulted journalists to get 'more confrontational' is incredibly irresponsible. Every House Democrat should condemn Maxine Waters' call for violence," National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Berg told Fox News.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., announced a resolution calling for Waters’ expulsion from Congress, tweeting on Sunday that "As a sitting United States Congresswoman Maxine Waters threatened a jury demanding a guilty verdict and threatened violence if Chauvin is found not guilty. This is also an abuse of power."
She also wrote on Twitter that "After traveling across state lines to incite riots, her orders recorded on video last night at the Brooklyn Center, directly led to more violence and a drive-by shooting on National Guardsmen in Minnesota early this morning.”