Rep. Maxine Waters joined MSNBC's Chris Hayes to follow up on her much-publicized comments calling on Democrats to harass members of the Trump cabinet in public until he changes his immigration policy.
"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. You push back on them. Tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!" Waters said at a rally in Washington on Saturday.
"I have no sympathy for these people that are in this administration who know it’s wrong for what they’re doing on so many fronts," the California Democrat said in a subsequent MSNBC interview.
Waters' comments were largely seen to be rebuked by her own party leadership, with criticism coming in from Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and this tweet from his House counterpart, Nancy Pelosi:
In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea. https://t.co/vlpqOBLK4R— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) June 25, 2018
"They don't really say I am out of line," Waters said about Schumer and Pelosi. "What they do is find a way to try to talk about civility without attacking me or anybody else. As the leader of the Democratic Party, she would do everything she could to make sure nobody believes Democrats are out there harassing people."
"We're focused on the children, and we're not focused on this diversion," she said. "I've had sleepless nights about the fact that these children, we do not know where they are."
"This president will do anything to distrct. He calls me names, he calls everybody names. As a matter of fact, we expect that from him, but we have come too close to normalizing this president."
President Trump also weighed in, at a rally Monday night, and in this tweet:
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. Be careful what you wish for Max!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2018
Later in the interview Monday night with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Waters tripled down on her comments, saying, "[Trump] calls for more violence than anybody else."
Waters held up a piece of paper to read from a list of times Trump has spoken of violence:
REP. MAXINE WATERS: This president will try to do everything to divert attention. He calls me names. He calls everybody names. As a matter of fact, we expect that from him. We have come too close to normalizing this president.
Listen to some of his statements during his campaign and since he has been president. His violence statements are, I quote, "I’d like to punch him in the face."
Another violent statement, "knock the crap out of them."
Another one, "maybe he should have been roughed up."
And then he goes on to say, "try not to hurt him, but if you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t worry about it."
Now, if that’s not creating violence and supporting violence, what is? I’ve said nothing about that. I’ve talked about peaceful protests.
"I would not in any way support any violence, anybody being hit or beaten or then say to them 'I'll have to get you out of jail.' This president is guilty of all of that," Waters said. "Don’t forget that they created some of the most violent protests that we’ve ever seen led by a president of the United States of America."
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: The Trump administration's cruel decision to separate children from their parents at the border prompted a backlash against Trump administration officials and allies, and not just online. In Virginia, protesters played a recording of crying detained migrant kids outside the home of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen while she appeared to be home.
Both Nielsen and senior adviser Steven Miller were also confronted by protesters verbally while trying to eat in Mexican restaurants.
In Florida, meanwhile, Attorney General Pam Bondi left a movie theater where she come to see a documentary about Mr. Rogers as citizens heckled her, yelled "shame on you" and asked if Mr. Rogers would take children away from their parents.
And most famously, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant called the Red Hen over the weekend when the owner objected to her role in pushing defending Trump administration policy, prompting a debate over whether members of the administration should be able to lead a public life without facing public consequences.
My next guest, Representative Maxine Waters, made her feelings clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Those comments precipitated a significant backlash from members of both parties and from the president who, we should note, lied about Waters, what Waters has said and then appeared to threaten her with violence.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become together with Nancy Pelosi, the face of the Democratic Party. She has just called for harm to supporters of which there are many of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish, Max.
As you just heard, Maxine Waters did not in any way call for harm to Trump supporters. The president lied.
Joining me now to respond, Representative Maxine Waters of California.
Congresswoman, let me start with this. You did not call for physical harm or attacks on people, but you did say create a crowd and push back on them. And so, I wonder, do you worry that people interpret that as a call to essentially mob intimidation, to use a sort of mass of people to physically threaten people in public spaces.
Is that what you're calling for and what do you think of that?
WATERS: Absolutely. No as a matter of fact, you're absolutely correct. I did not call for harm for anybody. The president lied again.
As a matter of fact, I believe in peaceful protests. I believe that protest is at the centerpiece of our democracy. I believe that the Constitution guarantees us freedom of speech. And I think that protest is civil protest.
And so, I don't know why the president chose to stretch that out and try to imply that I was causing harm. As a matter of fact, the president calls for more violence than anybody else.
But let's not talk about that. Let's focus on the children. That's what this is all about. It is about the fact that children have been snatched from their parents' arms.
They're in cages. They're in jails. They're in prisons. You name it. The parents don't know where they are. And this administration can't tell us where they are.
These parents want to know where their children are. Any parent would want to know where their children are. Most parents in this country seeing what is going on where children have been separated from their mothers and their fathers would feel absolutely outraged about the fact that that is happening.
That's what we've got to focus on. This administration had better come up with a plan by which to connect these children and their parents. That's what I’m talking about.
HAYES: So I hear you on that, and I want to sort of follow up the question that was posed by "The Washington Post" editorial board. But first, I also want you to respond to your Democratic colleagues who have -- who have sort of distanced themselves from your comments.
And these are people I should be clear that I think that agree with you fundamentally on the policy, right? They are against the child -- the family separation policy. They think it's outrageous and morally abominable.
But you had Nancy Pelosi who said that, you know, strive to make America beautiful again and calling for civility. You had Chuck Schumer who has not been particularly vocal or visible on this particular issue but says, I strongly disagree with folks who advocate harassing folks if they disagree with you.
Why -- what is your response to your Democratic colleagues who say you are out of line and why do you think they are telling you that?
WATERS: They don't really say what I’m out of line. What they do is try to find a way -- to talk about civility without attacking me or anybody else. As the leader of the Democratic Party, I expect that she would do everything that she could to make sure nobody believes that Democrats are out here harassing anybody or causing any violence.
And I think that she was very responsible in the way that she said that. They're not attacking me. They're trying to make sure that people understand that we're focused on the children and that we're not focused on this diversion, particularly the way the president would have it sound and make it out to be.
And again, let me just tell you this. I am focused on the children. I’ve had sleepless nights about the fact that these children do not -- we do not know where they are. The parents don't know where they are.
Why can't the administration come up with a plan to connect them and make it public so that we can all get more comfortable with the fact that they are going to be reconnected? They should not have been separated in the way that it was done in the first place.
This president will try to do everything to divert eye attention. He calls me names. He calls everybody names.
As a matter of fact, we expect that from him. But we expect -- we have come too close to normalizing this president. Listen to some of his statements during his campaign and since he’s been president.
His violence statements are, I quote, I'd like to punch him in the face. Another violent statement, knock the crap out of them. Another one, maybe he should have been roughed up.
And then he goes on to say, try not to hurt him, but if you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don't worry about it.
Now, if that's not creating violence --
HAYES: So --
WATERS: -- and supporting violence, what is?
I’ve said nothing like that.
HAYES: Right. And you --
WATERS: I’ve talked about peaceful protests.
HAYES: Right. I just want to make clear: you don't -- you don’t think that's a good idea. I mean, you’re like -- you don't approve of the president's language there. You wouldn't call for people to physically threaten or to intimidate or to attack anyone. I just want to be crystal clear on that because --
WATERS: Absolutely not. I would not in any way support any violence, anybody being hit or beaten, or then say to them, "I’ll have to get you out of jail". This president is guilty of all of that.
Don't forget that they created some of the most violent protests that we've ever seen led by a president of the United States of America.
I’m for the children. I’m for the parents. I want those children connected back to their parents. I want this president to come up with a plan where he can make us all comfortable that this is going to be done.
Now, on the entire question of immigration, he is coming off even in another place. He has confused people. But he has not guaranteed us that he is going to get these children back to their parents.
HAYES: All right. Representative Maxine Waters, the president addressing a crowd tonight apparently talking about you. He seems to talk about you a tremendous amount. I thank you for taking some time to with me tonight.
WATERS: Well, I expect Don the Con Man to say anything. He’s a liar. He’s deplorable. He cannot be trusted. The American people should be accustomed to that now and know who we have for president, one someone who does not deserve to be president of the United States of America. Thank you so very much.
HAYES: Thank you, Congresswoman.