Rep. Maxine Waters’ call for protesters to “get more confrontational” over the weekend in the event that Derek Chauvin is acquitted of murder in the death of George Floyd was defended by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said the Democratic congresswoman does not need to apologize.
Waters, D-Calif., said over the weekend that protesters in Minnesota should “stay on the street and get more active.”
Pelosi, D-Calif., was asked if Waters should apologize for her remarks on Monday. “No, she doesn’t,” Pelosi stated emphatically. “Maxine talked about the confrontation in the manner of the civil rights movement.”
“I, myself, think we should take our lead from the George Floyd family,” Pelosi continued. “They’ve handled this with great dignity, and no ambiguity or lack of — misinterpretation by the other side.”
“No, I don’t think she should apologize,” she added.
When asked if she thought Waters’ comments could incite violence, Pelosi responded, “No, absolutely not.” On Saturday evening, Waters spoke at an anti-police brutality rally in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, telling protesters that they needed to “stay on the street,” until police reform became a reality.
Waters told reporters shortly before an 11 p.m. curfew, “I’m going to fight with all of the people who stand for justice,” “We’ve got to get justice in this country, and we cannot allow these killings to continue.”
When asked about the Chauvin murder trial in Minneapolis, Waters told reporters that if the former cop isn’t found guilty of George Floyd’s murder, “We need to stay on the streets and become more active and confrontational. We need to make it clear that we are serious about doing business with them.”
Waters expressed her “hopeful” that Chauvin would be found guilty of murder, but added that “we cannot go away.” if he isn’t.
After a confrontation in which Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes, he was charged with second-and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter. Floyd’s death, according to Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson, could have been caused by other factors such as a heart condition or drugs.
Meanwhile, when asked about Waters’ remarks, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that President Biden believes “protests must be peaceful.”
Psaki did not directly answer whether Biden agreed with Waters, but she did state that while the president supports protesting in general, he opposes violence.
“In his opinion,” Psaki said during Monday’s press conference, “exercising First Amendment rights and protesting injustice is the most American thing anyone can do.” “But as he also always says, protests must be peaceful, that’s what he continues to call for and what he continues to believe is the right way to approach responding.”