Schumer Takes Shot at Waters Over Calls to Harass Trump Officials: 'That's Not American'

June 25, 2018

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) blasted calls to harass political opponents on Monday, saying such a practice was "not American."

Schumer didn't call out Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) by name, but his admonition was a clear reference to her following controversial remarks she made at a rally on Saturday. After recent incidents involving Trump administration officials being harassed or expelled from public places by angry progressives, Waters encouraged such behavior to continue.

"If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere," Waters said.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Schumer said he often stridently disagreed with Trump administration policies, but he said all fellow Americans needed to be treated with civility.

"I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don't agree with you," he said. "If you disagree with someone or something, stand up. Make your voice heard. Explain why you think they're wrong and why you're right. Make the argument. Protest peacefully."

"No one should call for the harassment of political opponents," he added. "That's not right. That's not American."

Schumer said he understood outrage at the "hypocrisy" of President Donald Trump when he complained about nastiness directed at him and his administration, but he said such tactics shouldn't be emulated.

"It should be repudiated by organized, well-informed, and passionate advocacy," he said. "As Michelle Obama, a person who represents the same kind of fineness that we've always had in America ... said, 'When they go low, we go high.'"

"The best solution is to win elections," he concluded. "That is a far more productive way to channel the legitimate frustrations with this president's policies than harassing members of his administration."

Recent examples included White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being told to leave a resturant in Lexington, Virginia, on Friday, because its owner opposed her work for Trump. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was yelled and chanted at by protesters last week until she left a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., due to her role in the administration's controversial border policy.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi described being screamed at while attending a screening of a new documentary about Fred Rogers, better known as "Mr. Rogers."

Schumer's remarks came following an even more direct rebuke from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). She tweeted her displeasure with Waters on Monday, linking to a story about her and saying such comments were "unacceptable."

"In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea," Pelosi tweeted.

For his part, Trump also had a sharp comment about Waters, calling her "low IQ" and offering what seemed to be a veiled warning.

"Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!" Trump tweeted.