CNN’s Lemon: Waters Shouldn’t Have Made Comments, But She’s ‘Not the Issue Here’ and Is Saying ‘Truth’ about ‘Urgency’ of Demonstrating

On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Situation Room,” CNN host Don Lemon said that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) “Absolutely” should not have made the comments she did about reacting to the verdict in the Chauvin trial, “Everyone knows” she “is not calling for violence” and makes a lot of white men uncomfortable. Waters “is not the issue here” and he doesn’t want to criticize her “for speaking the truth for where she comes from and what she is and the urgency for people to get out and demonstrate and demonstrate in the right way, not causing riots and violence.”

Lemon said, “Maxine Waters is a sharp-tongued, rabble-rousing lawmaker who came out of the Civil Rights movement and as a black woman who had to fight tooth and nail for everything that she has gotten. So, while I, as a black person, can understand her rage and her anger, I understand that, and I understand that she makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Now, look at me, everyone, do you really think Maxine Waters is calling for violence? Maxine Waters is not calling for violence. Everyone knows that. She makes a lot of people uncomfortable, especially a lot of men and, quite frankly, especially a lot of white men. Because she puts them in their place. She tells you, shut up, respect this person, don’t talk to me that way, and she gives it to you like it is.”

He continued, “Now, that said, do I think what she said was constructive? Absolutely not. Do I think that she should have said it? Absolutely not. Do I think that she gave her enemies ammunition? I certainly do. She handed it to them, and that’s the problem. Maxine Waters is not the issue here and we cannot be distracted by Maxine Waters. There’s a baseball game going on and everyone’s watching the fight in the stands. And of course, the defense is going to use Maxine Waters as a defense. They’re going to use anything that they can use. That is obvious. But Maxine Waters is not the problem when it comes to state violence against black people and we have got to keep our eye on the prize. And the people who are criticizing her, quite frankly, most of the people are the insurrectionists’ people who supported the insurrection on Capitol Hill or the people who support the lie about the election or the people, in many ways, who are supporting state violence against black people. So, was it strategic for Maxine Waters to say what she said in this moment? No. She needs to be more responsible with her words and considering how long she has been in the Congress and in the public eye, she should know better. But do people — was Maxine Waters really calling for people to loot and riot? I think most people with half a brain [know] that’s not what she was doing. Should she have been more responsible and more careful? Absolutely. So, there is nuance in that. I don’t want to sit here and criticize and demonize Maxine Waters for speaking the truth for where she comes from and what she is and the urgency for people to get out and demonstrate and demonstrate in the right way, not causing riots and violence. Again, more careful with her words, but there is nuance in this.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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