Waters on Criticism From Pelosi, Schumer: Democratic Leadership ‘Will Do Anything’ to Protect Themselves

Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) shot back at Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer after their criticisms of her recent call to harass Trump administration officials, saying Sunday those in leadership "will do anything" to protect their positions.

Waters encouraged supporters to heckle and harass Trump administration officials at a rally last weekend, leading to unusually sharp rebukes from her own party.

Without using her name, Schumer (D., N.Y.), the Senate Minority Leader, called such rhetoric "not American" and remarked, "I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don't agree with you." House Minority Leader Pelosi (D., Calif.) linked to an article about Waters' remarks on Twitter and said it was "unacceptable."

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On MSNBC's "AM Joy" for her "Moment of Maxine," Waters was asked by liberal host Joy Reid if she was surprised to receive criticism from her own leadership.

"You know, I was surprised at Chuck Schumer, you know, reached into the other house to do that," Waters said. "I’ve not quite seen that done before. But one of the things I recognize, being an elected official, is in the final analysis, you know, leadership, like Chuck Schumer's, will do anything that they think is necessary to protect their leadership."

"And so, what I have to do, is not focus on them. I've got to keep the focus on the children and the fact that this administration is endangering children in the worse kind of way," she added, referring to the White House's controversial border policies.

Waters sounded more strident than she did in another MSNBC appearance this week with Chris Hayes, when she said the Democratic leaders hadn't really attacked her.

"They [Pelosi and Schumer] don't really say I'm out of line. What they try to do is find a way to talk about civility without attacking me or anybody else," Waters said. "As the leader of the Democratic Party, I expect that she would do everything that she could to make sure nobody believes that Democrats are out here harassing anybody or causing any violence, and I think that she was very responsible in the way she said that."

President Donald Trump slammed Waters for the comments, saying at a rally she had practically encouraged people to "assault" his team.