Louisiana GOP Rep. Steve Scalise on Tuesday said California congresswoman Maxine Waters is “inciting violence” ahead of the Derek Chauvin trial verdict, but he dismissed the notion that former President Donald Trump‘s remarks ahead of the January 6 Capitol riot are comparable, despite the deadly violence that occurred immediately afterwards.
Scalise accused Waters of attempting to rile up racial tensions in the Minneapolis area as the city and the nation await the verdict in the trial of former police officer Chauvin, who is charged in the death of George Floyd last May 25. Waters on Saturday night asked protesters to “get more confrontational” should the verdict go in favor of Chauvin, prompting GOP lawmakers across the country to claim she’s stirring up racial unrest and “inciting” violent demonstrations. But when pressed on whether Trump and fellow GOP lawmakers should also apologize for their January 6 insurrection remarks, Scalise said they were hoping to encourage “peace” at the time.
“If you look at Maxine Waters’ comments, the judge in the trial just yesterday acknowledged that Maxine Waters’ comments are so inflammatory they could cause grounds for appeal if that ruling goes the wrong way,” Scalise said, citing the Hennepin County court’s remarks urging politicians to avoid encouragement of any potentially violent protests.
“She was trying to incite violence and in fact there is violence going on right now in Minnesota because of her actions. This isn’t the first time she’s made these types of inflammatory comments, so you’re going to see Leader McCarthy bring a censure resolution to the floor. I’d like to see Maxine Waters apologize for the inflammatory comments that she made inciting violence, it’s a powder keg down there,” Scalise continued.
A reporter at the House Republicans‘ weekly Tuesday meeting asked Scalise if he’s being hypocritical by demanding Waters apologize for her remarks while he ignores Trump’s January 6 comments, which literally preceded a deadly protest. The reporters pressed Scalise on whether the comments made by Trump and Republicans at the “Stop the Steal” riot were at least “on par” with those from Waters.
Just prior to the Capitol riot, Alabama GOP Rep. Mo Brooks told raucous rallygoers, “Today is the day America’s patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
In response, Scalise doubled down and claimed Trump’s comments just before the Capitol riot were “peaceful.”
“No, in fact, President Trump used the word ‘peaceful’… I haven’t heard Maxine saying anything about people ‘peacefully’ protesting. She’s talked about violence, she’s talked about, I think the words were ‘get more confrontational’ in the streets if the verdict goes the wrong way. There’s nothing peaceful about that.
“A lot of people have talked about the comments that other people have made, but 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 and that hypocrisy is starting to shine through.”
Trump did in fact urge protestors on January 6 to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” at the Capitol, though critics argue he nevertheless incited the violence that occurred on that day.
Scalise also pointed blame at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for having “covered” for Waters. On Monday, Pelosi scoffed at GOP criticism of the fellow California Democratic lawmaker and said she has nothing to apologize for from her Chauvin verdict comments.
Newsweek reached out to Scalise’s office for additional remarks Tuesday afternoon.