Leaders in the African-American community sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) on Tuesday, criticizing their denouncements of Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.).
The letter signed “Black Women Leaders and Allies,” which includes Rev. Al Sharpton and former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile, detailed how members of the group were disappointed in Schumer and Pelosi for not defending Waters amid recent controversial statements, according to Politico.
“We, the undersigned, write to express our full support for Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who has recently been unjustly attacked by Republicans and Democratic Party leadership for speaking truth to power in challenging the Trump Administration to do the right thing by ending a ‘Zero Tolerance’ immigration policy,” the letter reads. “Further, we write to share our profound indignation and deep disappointment over your recent failure to protect Congresswoman Waters from unwarranted attacks from the Trump Administration and others in the GOP. That failure was further compounded by your decision to unfairly deride her as being ‘uncivil’ and ‘un-American.'”
Waters encouraged supporters to heckle and harass Trump administration officials at a rally last month after several incidents of Trump officials being harassed out in public.
“If you see anybody from [Trump’s] 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.
Waters’ comments led to rebuke from Schumer and Pelosi.
Without using her name, Schumer called such rhetoric “not American” and remarked, “I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don’t agree with you.” Pelosi linked to an article about Waters’ remarks on Twitter and said it was “unacceptable.”
Waters responded to Schumer’s rebuke.
“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.”