Nearly 200 black women leaders and allies penned a scathing letter to Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, accusing them of failing to defend Congresswoman Maxine Waters from Trump, the GOP, and those threatening to kill her.
“We write to share our profound indignation and deep disappointment over your recent failure to protect Congresswoman Waters from unwarranted attacks from the Trump Administration and others in the GOP,” the letter obtained by Politico read. “That failure was further compounded by your decision to unfairly deride her as being ‘uncivil’ and ‘un-American.’ In doing so, we believe this mischaracterizes her call to action for peaceful democratic assembly and the exercise of her constitutional rights to free speech in support of defenseless immigrant children and their families.”
The letter also warned the Democratic Party risks alienating a new generation of Democratic voters if they don’t support Waters, a woman whose disinterest in bipartisan niceties has basically become a meme.
Party leadership have distanced themselves from Waters after she encouraged Americans to call out the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy in public spaces outside working hours. Waters’ call for action followed a series of incidents in which Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant after staff expressed discomfort, Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen was heckled by Democratic Socialists of America activists at a restaurant, and White House Advisor (and overall ghoul) Stephen Miller was called a “fascist” by a diner at a restaurant. But while Nielsen was being shamed at a Mexican restaurant and Sanders enjoyed a free cheese board, thousands of migrant children were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, with little hope of reuniting the families in any efficient manner any time soon.
The black women and allies who signed off on that letter call bullshit:
We...believe Congresswoman Waters is owed an apology for your public comments insinuating she is “uncivil” and “un-American” for challenging the Trump Administration. As women whose ancestors have lived through the incivility of slavery, segregation, and all other forms of discrimination, racism, and sexism, as people who have historically been told to ‘wait’ for justice, for freedom, for our turn, we consider it an insult to characterize Ms. Waters’ call for the exercise of our constitutional rights as uncivil and un-American. We call on leaders of all persuasion to practice the art of civil discourse.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters is a valued leader whose passionate call for family reunification should be heard without any threats to her safety.
Donald Trump has sullied the bully pulpit with reckless disregard for the safety of others. He should stop his attacks on Congresswoman Waters and all Members of Congress, the free press, and all Americans who have the right and the responsibility to speak their minds.
The threats were severe enough that Waters cancelled events in Texas and Alabama, but during a June 30 speech at a #FamiliesBelongTogether rally in Los Angeles, Waters boldly told her critics, “If you shoot me, you better shoot straight. There’s nothing like a wounded animal.”
Brave rhetoric aside, it’s hard to celebrate Waters literally willing to put her life on the line when her own colleagues are quick to throw her under the bus.
Schumer and other milquetoast Democratic pundits found time to wring their hands for days over Waters encouraging people to call out architects of Trump’s racist, appalling immigration policy, but they had very little to say about the woman having her life threatened, even as the president continued to deride her on Twitter. Interesting set of priorities, to say the least.