Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) told CNN co-host Chris Cuomo on Tuesday morning it is "absolutely ridiculous" for Republicans to say she threatened President Donald Trump earlier this month when she said during a speech she would go and "take Trump out tonight."
Cuomo began the interview by playing a clip of Waters' speech last week at a gala for LGBT youth in New York.
"Wow, what a moving evening this is. I'm sitting here listening, watching, absorbing, thinking about Ali even though I never met him," she said at the dinner. "And with this kind of inspiration, I will go and take out Trump tonight."
Cuomo followed up by asking Waters what she intended by her comments, noting the controversy it has stirred about her possibly making a death threat.
"That's absolutely ridiculous. Nobody believes that a 79-year-old grandmother who is a congresswoman and who has been in Congress and politics for all these years is talking about doing any harm," Waters said. "The only harm that I may doing to the president, is I want him impeached, and those people who are so opposed to my leadership on impeachment are organizing – the right-wing, the white nationalists, the KKK – they've organized an effort to try and of course defeat me in my election coming up and to discredit me."
Waters continued by saying that she isn't talking about any physical harm to anyone and that she is on the front lines trying to impeachment Trump.
"I believe this president is not worthy. I think that this president should not be representing our country. He has alienated our allies. He continues to lie day in and day out. He creates controversy. He can't get along with the members of Congress. He needs to be impeached. I want him impeached and I'm going to continue my efforts to call for his impeachment," Waters said.
Cuomo then referred to the language used on both sides, including by Waters and others opposed to the president, as "ugly talk." He asked her whether she believed she should "be the change" she wants to see and show "a high level of decency" when criticizing others.
"I think that I have been extremely responsible in laying out the case for why this president should be impeached. I know that the right-wing, the white nationalists, all of those who are organized around this president do not like this, and people are not accustomed to a woman – in particular, an African-American woman – taking this kind of leadership. How dare me challenge the President of the United States?" Waters said.
"But we have never witnessed a president who has been as irresponsible and as dangerous as this president, and I think that we need to step up to the plate and tell the truth and speak truth to power, and that's what I am doing and that's what I am going to continue to do. I know it's unusual," Waters added.
Waters has been one of the harshest critics of Trump's presidency, calling for Trump's impeachment as early as three weeks after he was sworn into office. She has argued Trump and his associates colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. Meanwhile, inquiries into collusion are ongoing and no such determination has been made. The California representative nevertheless said she will continue to "call it like it is."
"I'm going to continue to call it like it is, and speak to truth to power, and say that this president is not capable of managing this country in a responsible way," Waters said.