Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters told MSNBC on Feb. 7 that her 2018 comments encouraging people to confront the previous administration’s officials in public places is not the same as the former president’s encouragement of the Capitol riot. Waters’ comments come after it was reported that former President Donald Trump’s attorneys plan to defend him at his impeachment trial by comparing Waters’ 2018 comments to the president’s actions leading up to the insurrection.
On June 23, 2018, when the nation was divided over the separation of migrant children and their parents at the southern border, Waters told a crowd to confront members of the Trump administration in public places in order to “push back.”
“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,” Waters said. “And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere, we’ve got to get the children connected to their parents. The children are suffering.”
Speaking with Waters on Sunday on the “Velshi” show, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi said, “That’s the stuff that Donald Trump’s attorneys say proves that you and others are doing the same thing Trump was doing on Jan. 6 and in the days before that, what’s the difference?”
“At the last minute, [Trump has] gotten these attorneys. And they’re going to try and put together a defense for him. It’s going to be weak, it’s not going to be good. They’re going to attack people like me, and they’re going to try and say that we have done rallies and we’ve said things that have incited others,” Waters said.
“But none of us have been involved in what this president has been involved with, and I think we’re going to see that the planning for the invasion of our Capitol started some time ago with these domestic terrorist groups. And none of us have been involved with any of those kinds of activities, but they’re going to try it.”
Comments made by Trump at the “Save America” rally prior to the insurrection have come under scrutiny as the former president battles accusations that his words incited the riot.
“We won this election, and we won it by a landslide,” Trump told his supporters at the rally, repeating the falsehood about the outcome of the race.
“If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” he added. “We are going to the Capitol.”
Moments after Trump took the applause, his supporters began making the short walk to the Capitol, where they breached the building as members of Congress were in the process of certifying the election results.
The riot left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer. In a video shared to Twitter on Trump’s account on the day of the riot, he told the insurrectionists, “Go home. We love you.”
Waters explained Monday that her comments shouldn’t be compared to Trump’s conduct leading up to the Capitol siege.
“Nothing any Democrat that I know of have ever said or acted in the way the president of the United States has acted. People must realize this president was out to destroy our democracy if he could not be president. He sent those people, those domestic terrorists, to the Capitol, to take over the Capitol. Even they are saying so, they’re saying they were invited by the president. The president was rallying them right before they went. He told them to ‘be tough,’ he told them to ‘take back their government,'” Waters said.
Waters also minimized her June 2018 comments to the public, saying, “As a matter of fact, if you look at the words that I used, the strongest thing I said was tell them they’re not welcome. ‘Talk to them. Tell them they’re not welcome.’ I didn’t say, ‘Go and fight.’ I didn’t say anybody was going to have any violence. And so they can’t make that stick.”