House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy told Breitbart News exclusively that he will move to formally censure House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) over her call to violence in Minnesota this weekend.
McCarthy’s move, which comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to hold Waters accountable, will force a censure vote in the House. Pelosi cannot stop McCarthy’s resolution censuring Waters from receiving a vote, because it is a privileged resolution. If Democrats lose just three of their members on this vote and all Republicans vote for it, then Waters will be formally censured by the House and likely lose her powerful position as chair of the Financial Services Committee.
If Waters is successfully censured by the House, it would also invoke a powerful but little-known rule in the House Democrat Caucus rules called Rule 25, which would formally strip her of her ability to serve as chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee.
McCarthy’s statement, provided exclusively to Breitbart News ahead of its public release, makes clear that it is his belief that Waters “broke the law by violating curfew” before she “incited violence” with commentary she made to reporters in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, this weekend.
“This weekend in Minnesota, Maxine Waters broke the law by violating curfew and then incited violence. Increased unrest has already led to violence against law enforcement and her comments intentionally poured fuel on the fire,” McCarthy said. “We’ve heard this type of violent rhetoric from Waters before, and the United States Congress must clearly and without reservation reprimand this behavior before more people get hurt. But Speaker Pelosi is ignoring Waters’ behavior. That’s why I am introducing a resolution to censure Rep. Waters for these dangerous comments, and I hope that all my colleagues – both Republican and Democrat – will stand up for peace on America’s streets.”
Waters appeared with protesters in Brooklyn Center in Minnesota who for days have been protesting the death of Daunte Wright. During remarks to reporters, Waters specifically urged people to “get more confrontational” if the jury in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin does not return a murder conviction in the death of George Floyd.
“We’re looking for a guilty verdict,” Waters said. “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. But I am very hopeful, and I hope we are going to get a verdict that says ‘guilty, guilty, guilty.’ If we don’t, we cannot go away.”
In response to a follow-up question on what protesters should do if Chauvin is not convicted of murder, Waters said: “We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure they know we mean business.”
After video of Waters’ remarks circulated widely on social media, McCarthy on Sunday night pressed Pelosi to do something about Waters inciting violence. Pelosi has not acted, other than defending Waters and saying she should not apologize for the commentary.
“Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the Civil Rights movement,” Pelosi said, according to CNN. “I myself think we should take our lead from the George Floyd family. They’ve handled this with great dignity and no ambiguity or lack of misinterpretation by the other side.”
“No, no, I don’t think she should apologize,” Pelosi added about Waters.
Waters took a similar approach to Pelosi’s defense of her—claiming Republicans were deliberately misinterpreting her call for protesters to “get more confrontational”—in an interview with the Grio attempting to clean up the mess.
“I am nonviolent,” Waters told the outlet, before claiming right-wingers were deliberately twisting her words to infer she was calling for violence:
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 … 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 also claimed this was part of some grand conspiracy theory strategy by Republicans against her. “This is a time for [Republicans] to keep telling our constituents that [Democrats] are the enemy and they do that time and time again,” Waters said. “But that does not deter me from speaking truth to power. I am not intimidated. I am not afraid, and I do what needs to be done.”
And, in the Grio interview, she said when used the word “confrontational” she really meant legislatively and through civic reform. “I talk about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on, I’m talking about speaking up,” Waters said. “I’m talking about legislation. I’m talking about elected officials doing what needs to be done to control their budgets and to pass legislation.”
Waters again in the Grio interview reiterated her belief that Republicans are trying to “distort” her comments. “I am not worried that they’re going to continue to distort what I say,” Waters said. “This is who they are and this is how they act. And I’m not going to be bullied by them.”
Pelosi’s and Waters’ after-the-fact defense of Waters’ comments this weekend aside, the matter of a censure vote comes to simple math in the House of Representatives. Democrats have a very slim majority, and assuming all current members of the House vote on this forthcoming privileged censure resolution, Pelosi and Waters can only afford to lose two Democrats and block the measure. If three House Democrats join with all House Republicans in approving the censure, then efforts to defend Waters would fail and the censure measure would succeed.
There have only been a handful—five to be exact—successful censures of sitting House members in modern history. The last censure was in 2010 of now-former Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) over corruption, and before that was of then-Reps. Daniel Crane (R-IL) and Gerry Studds (D-MA) way back in the early 1980s for sexual misconduct with House pages. Democrats Charles Wilson and Charles Diggs faced censures in 1980 and 1979 respectively. The last censure before that was way back in the early 1920s.