President Trump lobbed a veiled threat of violence at Maxine Waters on Monday, cautioning the California congresswoman to be “careful” what she wishes for in light of her urging Americans to “push back” against his administration.
“Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinary low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party,” Trump tweeted, referencing the House minority leader. “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!”
Despite Trump’s claim, Waters hasn’t “called for harm” against the President’s supporters, but urged attendants at a rally in Los Angeles on Sunday to speak out against his administration whenever an opportunity arises.
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“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,” Waters, 79, told supporters. “You push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
Waters’ rebuke came amid national outrage over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration, which has resulted in the forced separation of thousands of children from their immigrant parents at the southern border. Amid a torrent of backlash, Trump signed an executive order permitting undocumented adults to remain with their children while in custody, but the fate of many of those already separated remains a mystery.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller were all forced out of restaurants over the last week amid pushback over the family-shattering practice.
Spokespeople for Waters did not immediately return requests for comment.
Trump’s threat against the longtime California Democrat set off waves of criticism.
“Good lord this is bad,” former Justice Department official Matthew Miller tweeted. “Suspect the Capitol Police will have to give Waters a protective detail in response to this tweet and the threats it will generate.”
A Capitol Police spokeswoman declined to comment on whether it is investigating Trump’s tweet.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called out Trump during a fiery speech on the Senate floor Monday afternoon.
“I understand those who are outraged by the hypocrisy of this president when he complains about bullying, harassment and nastiness when it’s used against him or his allies and he uses it as a regular tool almost every day,” the New York senator said.
The President is no stranger to threatening violence against his political opponents.
He has used the phrase “be careful” in at least four previous Twitter threats, including one against Hillary Clinton and another targeting supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
During the campaign, Trump infamously urged supporters to assault protesters who tried to disrupt his rallies.
“Knock the crap out of them,” Trump told supporters in Iowa in February 2016.
A month later, Trump complained during a rally in North Carolina that police officers weren’t being violent enough against protesters.