McClain accuses Maxine Waters of inciting violence in Minnesota

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Washington — Republican U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain is slamming Democratic colleague, Maxine Waters, for saying that supporters of racial justice and Black Lives Matter should "get more confrontational." 

But Waters responded to GOP criticism Monday by claiming Republicans were distorting her words and trying to "send a message" to white supremacists.

On the House floor Monday, McClain of Bruce Township accused California's Waters of condoning violence and claimed that, were Waters a Republican, the Democrat-controlled chamber would be voting on expelling her from her committees and potentially from Congress.

"Once again, this weekend we saw a member of the majority openly call for more confrontation in a Minneapolis suburb. That very night, there was a drive-by shooting in that community where police and national guardsmen were targeted," said McClain, a freshman lawmaker.

U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain spoke on the House floor Monday, April 19, 2021, and said California Congresswoman Maxine Waters had condoned violence when speaking to protesters in Minnesota.

"The words 'get more confrontational' — what do those words mean? Are those not the words of someone — that someone would use if they wanted to incite more violence or insurrection?

"If the majority cares about this institution, if the majority cares about our nation, they need to get their own house in order and tamp down on the vile rhetoric."

McClain spoke just after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened Monday's House session. Shortly after, Pelosi told reporters that Waters did not need to apologize for what she said, but that McClain should.

"That woman on the floor should be apologizing for what she said," Pelosi said, referring to McClain. "She was attributing some murder — some incident that happened after that to Maxine's statement," Pelosi continued.

"No, Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the Civil Rights movement. I myself think we should take our lead from the George Floyd family: They've handled this with great dignity. ... No, I don't think she should apologize."

Asked if Waters' comments incite violence, Pelosi replied, "absolutely not."

McClain on Twitter said, "As 'that woman,' no, I won't apologize for calling out the double standards that you have set, @SpeakerPelosi." 

Waters was in Minnesota over the weekend and was asked by reporters about the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer on trial for murder in the killing of a Black man, George Floyd, last year.

Waters told reporters that if Chauvin isn't found guilty, "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," according to Fox News.

Waters in an interview with TheGrio said she is nonviolent and that Republicans were purposely distorting her words.

“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. 

"I am not worried that they’re going to continue to distort what I say. This is who they are and this is how they act. And I’m not going to be bullied by them."

Waters also came under fire from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who tweeted Sunday that if Pelosi "doesn’t act against this dangerous rhetoric, I will bring action this week."

Another Republican lawmaker, Marjorie Taylor Greene, on Sunday announced an effort to expel Waters from Congress. Greene was expelled from her committees in February over past inflammatory remarks.

mburke@detroitnews.com