Editor’s Note: Read more on the fallout from Maxine Waters’s incitement scandal here.
Left-wing pundits ran to the defense of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., after she faced heavy criticism for encouraging Black Lives Matter protesters to become “more confrontational” if Derek Chauvin, the officer involved in the death of George Floyd, is acquitted.
CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday claimed that everyone “with half a brain” knew Waters wasn’t calling for violence.
“Do you really think Maxine Waters is calling for violence?” Lemon began. “Maxine Waters is not calling for violence. Everyone knows that.”
The oft-race-baiting host then proceeded to deflect from the issue by injecting identity politics.
“She makes a lot of people uncomfortable, especially a lot of men, and quite frankly, especially a lot of white men, because she puts them in their place,” Lemon claimed.
“She tells you, ‘Shut up! Respect this person. Don’t talk to me that way,'” he continued. “And she gives it to you like it is.”
Lemon was referring to Waters’ earlier breach of House decorum, in which she attempted to dress down Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, last week for “bullying” White House coronavirus czar Anthony Fauci.
According to Politico, Waters told her Republican colleague to “shut your mouth” during a panel for the House coronavirus subcommittee, which she currently chairs.
The chaotic atmosphere and rank partisan attacks are not entirely uncharacteristic of a Waters-led hearing. The bombastic congresswoman long has taken a special point of pride in her role as a disruptor, even when she, personally, is the one tasked with maintaining order.
However, her incitement of violence at the weekend rally in Minneapolis could prove to be a lingering problem for Democrats following their unprecedented attacks on Republicans—including former president Donald Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.—for using similar rhetoric.
Greene signaled on Monday that she planned to sponsor a resolution calling for Waters’s removal, even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made clear she had no intention of disciplining her fellow party member.
Lemon admitted Waters’ comments weren’t “constructive,” but she “is not the issue here,” he insisted.
“I don’t want to sit here and criticize and demonize Maxine Waters for speaking the truth, for where she comes from and what she is and the urgency for people to get out and demonstrate—and demonstrate in the right way, not causing riots and violence,” he claimed.
PBS NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor also defended Waters, arguing she “did not threaten violence.”
Eric Nelson is now using Rep Maxine Waters saying that protesters should get “more active” & “more confrontational” if Derek Chauvin isn’t convicted as a reason for a mistrial to be declared. He’s claiming she threatened violence.
Fact check: Waters did not threaten violence.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 19, 2021
But even the judge presiding over Chauvin’s trial found Waters’ comments so concerning that he warned lawmakers not to comment on the trial anymore.
Waters may have even handed Chauvin’s defense team a chance at an “appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,” Judge Peter Cahill warned.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.