House Minority Whip Steve Scalise on Tuesday called out House Democrats for failing to condemn inflammatory comments made by Rep. Maxine Waters as the GOP prepares to bring a censure resolution against the California Democrat.
At a press briefing, Mr. Scalise chided House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying she “covered” for Ms. Waters, and tight-lipped House Democrats for “hypocrisy.”
“A lot of people have talked about the comments that other people have made and spoken out against it,” Mr. Scalise said. “Right now, I haven’t heard any Democrats speaking out against what Maxine has said, and it’s time for Democrats to speak out when they see it on both sides. They only want to speak out on one side of the aisle, not on both, and that hypocrisy I think is starting to shine through.”
He also confirmed that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is “finalizing the language right now” on a censure resolution.
“You’re going to see Leader McCarthy bring a censure resolution to the floor,” Mr. Scalise said.
Passing such a resolution in the Democratic-controlled House is a long shot, but Mr. McCarthy said Monday that “there are probably 10 to 15 [Democrats] who would love to vote” for censure, although convincing them to do so would be tricky.
“It will all come down to the pressure of what Democrats will put on them to just try to vote to table it — not even to have the discussion,” Mr. McCarthy said on “Fox News Primetime.”
Ms. Waters has come under criticism for her Saturday comments during a protest in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, in which she said demonstrators should “get more confrontational” if former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin is acquitted of murder in the death of George Floyd.
“I’d like to see Maxine Waters apologize for the inflammatory comments that she’s made inciting violence,” Mr. Scalise said. “It’s a powder keg down there.”
He noted that Hennepin County Court Judge Peter Cahill admonished Ms. Waters and warned that her comments could serve as the basis of an appeal if Mr. Chauvin is convicted. The jury began deliberations Monday.
“I’ve been very clear in speaking out against any kind of political rhetoric that incites violence, but if you look at Maxine Waters’ comments, the judge in the trial just yesterday acknowledged that Maxine Waters’ comments are so inflammatory that it could cause grounds for an appeal if that ruling goes the wrong way,” Mr. Scalise said. “In fact, the judge went on to say elected officials need to stop doing this.”
Mrs. Pelosi defended Ms. Waters on Monday, saying, “No, she doesn’t” when asked if the congresswoman needed to apologize and that she was “absolutely not worried” about the rhetoric inciting violence.
Mr. Scalise and three others were shot in 2017 before the annual Congressional Baseball Game by a gunman described as a left-wing extremist who was targeting Republicans.
Mr. McCarthy warned that if Democrats stick together and refuse to support a censure resolution, “then they are going to own what not only Maxine Waters has been saying but what Tlaib and the others [said] about removing police officers and others.”
He referred to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, who tweeted last week, “No more policing, incarceration, it can’t be reformed” following the April 11 death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, who was shot by an officer.
“This has gone on too far and for too long,” Mr. McCarthy said.