The House on Tuesday rejected a Republican resolution to censure Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersJim Jordan, Val Demings get in shouting match about police during hearing Chauvin found guilty as nation exhales Waters on Chauvin guilty verdict: ‘I’m not celebrating, I’m relieved’ MORE (D-Calif.) for saying that “we’ve got to get more confrontational” about police brutality against African Americans.
Lawmakers voted along party lines 216-210, with no defections on either side, to table the resolution from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWaters on Chauvin guilty verdict: ‘I’m not celebrating, I’m relieved’ House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters READ: McCarthy’s resolution censuring Maxine Waters MORE (R-Calif.) that would have issued the chamber’s harshest disapproval short of expulsion.
Republicans argued that Waters incited violence with her remarks at a protest over the weekend in Minneapolis, where tensions are spiking over the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who’s charged with the murder of George Floyd, and the recent police killing of Daunte Wright.
The resolution’s text cites comments on Monday from the judge in the Chauvin trial, who criticized the remarks from Waters and warned they could give the defense “something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.”
Democrats cast Republicans’ outrage over Waters as hypocritical given how many of them defended former President TrumpDonald TrumpSt. Louis lawyer who pointed gun at Black Lives Matter protesters considering Senate run Chauvin found guilty as nation exhales US says Iran negotiations are ‘positive’ MORE, Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she’s meeting with Trump ‘soon’ in Florida QAnon site shutters after reports identifying developer Republicans head to runoff in GA-14 MORE (R-Ga.) and other GOP lawmakers accused of inciting violence ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection or of other misconduct.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesWaters on Chauvin guilty verdict: ‘I’m not celebrating, I’m relieved’ Lawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: ‘Our work is far from done’ House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters MORE (N.Y.) cited the examples of Reps. Lauren BoebertLauren BoebertHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Jeffries roasts McCarthy over Waters: ‘Clean up your own mess’ House Republicans ask Pelosi to reschedule Biden’s address to Congress MORE (Colo.), Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Jeffries roasts McCarthy over Waters: ‘Clean up your own mess’ The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – GOP draws line on taxes; nation braces for Chauvin verdict MORE (Fla.) and Greene and described each as a “mess.”
“Clean up your mess, Kevin. Sit this one out. You’ve got no credibility here,” Jeffries said.
House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Scalise dismisses comparison between Waters, Trump comments before Capitol riots Scalise confident Marjorie Taylor Greene won’t launch ‘America First Caucus’ MORE (R-La.) dodged a question at a press conference earlier Tuesday about why Republicans believed Waters deserved censure but not Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – All US adults can get vaccine; decision Friday on J&J vax Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (R-Ala.), who said at a rally outside the White House on Jan. 6 that “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
“Well, first of all, I’ve been very clear in speaking out against any kind of political rhetoric that incites violence,” Scalise said before pivoting back to Waters.
“Right now, I haven’t heard any Democrats speaking out against what Maxine has said. And it’s time for Democrats to speak out when they see it on both sides. They only want to speak out on one side of the aisle, not on both. And that hypocrisy, I think, is starting to shine through.”
House Democratic leaders all rallied behind Waters, but their margin for defeating McCarthy’s resolution was extraordinarily tight. They can currently afford only two defections and still prevail on any vote in the face of unified GOP opposition.
Many centrist Democrats in swing districts are sensitive to any incendiary remarks about police after blaming progressive activists’ calls for “defunding the police” for their electoral losses last November.
Republicans have seized on censuring Waters days after outcry over initial plans by Greene and Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Cheney on Trump going to GOP retreat in Florida: ‘I haven’t invited him’ Scalise confident Marjorie Taylor Greene won’t launch ‘America First Caucus’ MORE (R-Ariz.) to launch a caucus with a draft policy platform that called for promoting “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and infrastructure that reflects “European architecture.”
McCarthy and other top House Republicans quickly distanced themselves from the proposed caucus that threatened to subject the party to an internal debate over white supremacy. But in the last few days, Republicans have united around sanctioning Waters.
Waters said on Saturday while attending an anti-police brutality protest in Minnesota that “we’ve got to get justice in this country, and we cannot allow these killings to continue.”
“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 that they know that we mean business,” Waters told reporters.
Waters maintained in an interview with The Grio on Monday that she wasn’t encouraging violence.
“I talk about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that’s going on, I’m talking about speaking up. 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 said.
It’s not the first time that Waters, the outspoken House Financial Services Committee chairwoman and senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has drawn ire from Republicans.
Waters encouraged supporters in 2018 to harass Trump administration officials in public over the separation of migrant families, saying that “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.”
And in 2017, Waters told a crowd that she would “go and take out Trump tonight.”
It’s rare for the House to take punitive action against one of its members.
House Democrats — and 11 Republicans — voted in February to remove Greene from serving on any committees due to her apparent endorsements of violence against prominent Democrats and past embrace of conspiracy theories.
Greene previously “liked” a Facebook comment in January 2019 that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi criticized after thanking Floyd for ‘sacrificing’ his life Waters on Chauvin guilty verdict: ‘I’m not celebrating, I’m relieved’ Minneapolis mayor on Floyd: ‘Ultimately his life will have bettered our city’ MORE (D-Calif.). And last September, Greene posted a photo of herself on Facebook holding a gun alongside images of progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Chauvin ‘verdict is not a substitute for policy change’ Overnight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarLawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: ‘Our work is far from done’ House rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Biden on refugee cap: ‘We couldn’t do two things at once’ MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Can policing be reformed? GOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign MORE (D-Mich.) with the caption “Squad’s Worst Nightmare.”
In 2019, House GOP leaders stripped then-Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Rep. Gosar denounces ‘white racism’ after controversial appearance In Marjorie Taylor Greene, a glimpse of the future MORE (R-Iowa) of his committee assignments for questioning why the terms “white supremacy” and “white nationalism” were considered offensive, following years of other comments considered racist.
The House adopted a bipartisan resolution days later to formally condemn white supremacy and white nationalism, although the measure didn’t directly rebuke King.
Later in 2019, Omar made remarks widely panned as anti-Semitic for suggesting that the pro-Israel lobby “says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” The House subsequently passed a resolution broadly condemning anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry, although it didn’t directly name Omar amid Democratic divisions over how far to sanction her.
Only 23 House members have been censured in the chamber’s history, most recently in 2010 when former Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) was censured over a string of ethics violations related to misusing congressional resources and failing to pay taxes on a vacation home.
House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Democrats adopting rule to limit Freedom Caucus delay tactics House Republicans ask Pelosi to reschedule Biden’s address to Congress MORE (D-Md.) warned that Democrats could take up censure resolutions that have been introduced by Democrats to sanction Republicans over their inflammatory rhetoric ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, including Brooks and Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertHouse rejects GOP resolution to censure Waters Third House GOP lawmaker issued ,000 metal detector fine GOP struggles to rein in nativism MORE (R-Texas). More than 70 Democrats have also backed a resolution to expel Greene from Congress altogether.
“As my friend the leader knows, we haven’t had all the resolutions that have been introduced on my side of the aisle. This makes it harder, however, not to proceed on numerous resolutions on my side of the aisle,” Hoyer said.