- Democratic Member of Congress
- Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
- Member of the Congressional Black Caucus
NOTE: This profile page begins with four particularly important sections of information about Maxine Waters. The first section details Waters’s long record of associations with communist and socialist groups, causes, and individuals. The second section discusses corruption of which Waters has been accused, and in which she has been involved. The third section provides examples of Waters’s propensity to accuse her political and ideological adversaries of racism if they are white, as well as her contempt for black conservatives. The fourth section lays bare her deep contempt for President Donald Trump and her passionate quest to impeach the latter. Following these four crucial sections is a more-or-less chronological profile of Waters’s life and political career.
Waters’s Ties to Communist & Socialist Groups, Causes, & Individuals (Including Fidel Castro)
* In 1982 Waters lent her name to a pamphlet published by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, a Communist Party USA front group that was led by Party members and supporters including Angela Davis, Charlene Mitchell, Anne Braden, and Frank Chapman.
* On March 9, 1983 in Los Angeles, Waters participated in a gathering where some 300 people laid out plans for a large solidarity event that was slated to coincide with the L.A. Summer Olympics July/August 1984. The 1983 meeting that Waters attended was organized by the Federation For Progress, a Communist Workers Party front group.
* In February 1984 at UC Berkeley, Waters spoke at a conference called “Growth Pains: Dialogues on Employment, Equality and Environment.” The event was sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America and Socialist Review, the monthly magazine of the Socialist Workers Party.
* Circa July 1984, Waters was a sponsor of a San Francisco reception organized by the Democratic Socialists of America’s American Solidarity Movement, whose Initiating Committee included such notables as Michael Harrington, Stanley Aronowitz, Balfour Brickner, Harry Britt, Harvey Cox, Ron Dellums, Bogdan Denitch, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cynthia Epstein, Jules Feiffer, Barney Frank, George Higgins, Irving Howe, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Frances Fox Piven, Jose Rivera, Ray Rogers, Gloria Steinem, Peter Steinfels, and Ellen Willis.
* Waters served on the welcoming committee for an April 27, 1991 event in Los Angeles honoring South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Chris Hani. The attendees that day contributed more than $12,000 to help fund the SACP and the People’s Weekly World, the official newspaper of the Communist Party USA.
* “In May 1992,” reports author and political activist Trevor Loudon, “Waters put her name to a supplement in the Communist Party‘s newspaper, the People’s Weekly World, which called for readers to ‘support our continuing struggle for justice and dignity.’ Virtually all other signatories were known Communist Party members or supporters.”
* In October 1992, Waters was in St. Louis to keynote a meeting of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, an organization that began as a Communist Party front.
* Waters has been a longtime supporter of the former Black Panther, convicted cop-killer, and Marxist icon Mumia Abu-Jamal. In 1995 – fourteen years after Abu-Jamal had been found guilty of murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner – Waters joined fellow Congressional Black Caucus members Chaka Fattah, Ron Dellums, Cynthia McKinney, and John Conyers in writing a letter that stated: “There is ample evidence that Mr. Abu-Jamal’s constitutional rights were violated, that he did not receive a fair trial, and that he is, in fact, innocent.” On August 13, 1995, Waters and Jesse Jackson were among the notables who attended a Los Angeles rally to protest Abu-Jamal’s murder conviction.
* Beginning in the mid-1990s, Waters became an outspoken champion for Lori Berenson, an American citizen who in 1995 was arrested in Peru for collaborating with Marxist guerrillas on a plot to kidnap members of the Peruvian Congress, and who in 1996 was sentenced to life-in-prison for her crime (a sentence that was later reduced to 20 years). In July 2002, Waters said the following about the Berenson case: “I am outraged and appalled by the continuing incarceration of Lori Berenson on charges of collaborating with terrorists in Peru. Lori Berenson is not a terrorist, nor has she ever collaborated with terrorists. She is an intelligent and caring young woman who is committed to justice.” When Berenson was given a conditional early release from prison in May 2010, Waters said she was “excited” about the court’s decision.
* At a June 1996 tribute event which the Communist Party USA newspaper People’s Weekly World held in Los Angeles for unionists Jerry Acosta and Gilbert Cedillo, one of Waters’s staffers made a presentation to the honorees on behalf of the congresswoman.
* In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America’s Political Action Committee endorsed Waters’s candidacy in the race for California’s District 35 Congressional seat.
* In 1997 Waters was one of 33 original co-sponsors of the Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act which was introduced into Congress by California Rep. Matthew Martinez. This emergency federal jobs legislation was designed to create jobs at union wages in crisis-ridden cities by putting the unemployed to work on infrastructure projects such as rebuilding schools, housing, hospitals, libraries, public transportation, highways, and parks. Rep. Martinez had already introduced a version of this bill in the previous Congress at the request of the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs, whose leaders were known supporters or members of the Communist Party USA.
* On September 29, 1998, Waters wrote a letter to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in which she apologized for having “mistakenly” voted for a House Resolution that called on the Government of Cuba to extradite to the United States the fugitive Assata Shakur and, as Waters put it, “all other individuals who have fled the United States from political persecution and received political asylum in Cuba.” Shakur was a former Black Panther, a Marxist revolutionary, and a convicted cop-killer who had broken out of prison in 1979 and subsequently fled to Cuba, where Castro gave her safe haven. In her 1998 letter to Castro, Waters referred to Shakur as a “political activist.” The congresswoman also explained that she herself – along with a number of her fellow Congressional Black Caucus members – had unwittingly voted in favor of the House Resolution because “the Republican leadership quietly slipped this bill onto the accelerated suspension calendar” which was “supposed to be reserved for non-controversial legislation.” “As evidence of their deceptive intent,” Waters added, “the Resolution did not mention Assata Shakur, but chose to only call her [by her birth name] Joanne Chesimard…. Once I discovered the nature of this deception, I prepared a statement of opposition, which I delivered on the floor the next day. I unequivocally stated that a mistake was made and I would have voted against the legislation.” Waters then proceeded to tell Castro why she was opposed to the House Resolution:
“I support the right of all nations to grant political asylum to individuals fleeing political persecution…. [I]t is the inviolate right of legitimate governments to grant asylum pursuant to the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…. Just as we maintain the right to grant political asylum for individuals from Cuba, we must respect the right of the government of Cuba to grant political asylum for individuals from the U.S. fleeing political persecution…. The second reason I oppose this measure is because I respect the right of Assata Shakur to seek political asylum. Assata Shakur has maintained that she was persecuted as a result of her political beliefs and political affiliations. As a result, she left the United States and sought political asylum in Cuba, where she still resides. In a sad and shameful chapter of our history, during the 1960s and 1970s, many civil rights, Black Power and other politically active groups were secretly targeted by the FBI for prosecution based on their political beliefs…. [T]he most vicious and reprehensible acts were taken against the leaders and organizations associated with the Black Power or Black Liberation Movement. Assata Shakur was a member of the Black Panther Party, one of the leading groups associated with the Black Liberation Movement.”
* In 1999, when six-year-old Elian Gonzalez famously requested asylum in the U.S. after his mother had drowned during their escape from Castro’s Cuba, Waters pressured President Bill Clinton to return the boy immediately to his homeland. During the controversy over the matter, Waters met with the boy’s father and grandmothers, thereby giving political and propaganda support to Castro. When the grandmothers traveled to the U.S., Waters hosted them on Capitol Hill and told them: “If you do not fight for Elián, they win. You fight, and you win.”
* In February 1999, Waters presided over a delegation of six Congressional Black Caucus members – including also Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Julia Carson, Gregory Meeks, and Earl Hilliard – to Cuba. The purpose of this fact-finding mission was to gather information that “would help the Black Caucus take a leading role in introducing legislation to change current U.S. policies toward Cuba.”
* In January 2000, Waters headed another Congressional Black Caucus delegation to Cuba, this time to monitor a U.S. Medical/Healthcare exhibition in Havana. Waters later wrote that as a result of that delegation: “Cuba offered to provide scholarships to low-income American students to study at the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba, on the condition that the students agree to practice medicine in underserved communities in the United States. This offer led to the establishment of a scholarship program administered by the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO).”
* On September 9, 2000, Waters was among the many people who greeted and honored Fidel Castro during his visit to Harlem’s Riverside Church. “Viva Fidel!” the congresswoman shouted jubilantly. At the event, Castro said: “I came to Harlem because I knew it was here that I would find my best friends.”
* In 2004, Waters lauded Stanley Sheinbaum, a Los Angeles-based activist and funder of left-wing causes,as someone who had been a trustworthy friend and a valuable mentor to her. “I’ve used him as a sounding board for years,” the congresswoman said. “He has been influencing progressive politics in this country, really the world, for a long time.” Over the years, Scheinbaum has been an organizer of the Pentagon Papers-Daniel Ellsberg Defense Team (in 1971); the publisher of New Perspectives Quarterly; a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions; chairman of the American Civil Liberties Foundation of Southern California; a founding member of People for the American Way; and a member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.
* In April 2004, Waters participated in a rally organized by the International Action Center, an offshoot organization of the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party. Other attendees included such notables as: Ramsey Clark, Major Owens, Ossie Davis, Amy Goodman, Larry Holmes, Sara Flounders, and Teresa Gutierrez.
* In February 2005, Waters sent her congressional aide April Lawrence to speak at an “anti-war and social justice conference” co-sponsored by the International Action Center (a Workers World Party offshoot) and the L.A. Million Worker March Committee (a socialist entity whose purpose was to “expos[e] the real nature of the two parties that support big business and capitalism,” and to “challenge the capitalist class.”
* In May 2005, Waters was one of just 22 House members to vote against HR 193, a Republican-sponsored bill stating that the House of Representatives: (a) “extends its support and solidarity to the organizers and participants of the historic meeting of the Assembly to Promote the Civil Society in Cuba on May 20, 2005, in Havana”; (b) “urges the international community to support the Assembly’s mission to bring democracy to Cuba”; (c) “urges the [Bush] Administration and international community to actively oppose any attempts by the Castro regime to repress or punish the organizers and participants of the Assembly”; and (d) “shares the pro-democracy ideals of the Assembly to Promote the Civil Society in Cuba and believes that this Assembly and others will hasten the day of freedom and democracy for the people of Cuba.” HR 193 passed by a margin of 392 to 22. Joining Waters in opposition to the bill were the following Democrats: Reps. John Conyers, Sam Farr, Maurice Hinchey, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, Cynthia McKinney, Gregory Meeks, George Miller, John Olver, Donald Payne, Charlie Rangel, José Serrano, Pete Stark, Edolphus Towns, Tom Udall, Nydia Velázquez, and Lynn Woolsey.
* In a May 2008 congressional hearing on gasoline prices, Shell Oil President John Hofmeister stated: “I can guarantee to the American people because of the inaction of the United States Congress, ever-increasing prices, unless the demand comes down, and that $5 [per gallon] will look like a very low price in the years to come if we are prohibited from finding new [oil] reserves, new opportunities to increase supplies.” In response, Waters stated flatly that she favored nationalizing America’s oil companies: “And guess what this liberal will be all about? This liberal will be about socializing – would be about, basically, taking over, and the government running all of your companies.”
* In 2009 Waters was a guest speaker at an event organized by the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, a group whose board of directors included Workers World Party organizer Abayomi Azikiwe, who also chaired the event.
* In November 2010, Waters and 15 other congressional Democrats met—either personally or through their respective staffers—with three supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack (FRSO/FB). Those FRSO/FB supporters, representing the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, expressed their condemnation of “the FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas of people doing international solidarity work and anti-war organizing.” It was reported that Waters and her 15 colleagues in Congress expressed “genuine concern” about the situation.
* In early 2013, Waters was one of dozens of prominent leftists who urged President Barack Obama to award, posthumously, the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the late Fred Ross Sr., a Saul Alinsky-trained radical who mentored both Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.
1) For a number of years, Waters’ daughter Karen has been in charge of a “slate mailer” operation for Waters’ federal campaign committee, Citizens for Waters (CfW), where other political candidates pay CfW to endorse them in its mailers. These payments to CfW have ranged from as little as $250 for a school board candidate, to tens of thousands of dollars for higher-profile candidates, to $171,000 for a wealthy California businessman who ran for elected office. (One of the more prominent individuals to appear on Waters’s endorsement mailers was Kamala Harris, who in 2010, when she was running for California attorney general, paid $28,000 to Waters’ campaign committee for that privilege. When Harris ran for the Senate in 2016, she gave CfW another $30,000 in order to appear in the mailers.) From 2006 through April 2017, Karen Waters was paid approximately $640,000 in wages for her slate mailer services. A May 2017 report in the Washington Free Beacon stated: “[Maxine] Waters’ most recent filings to the Federal Election Commission show that an outstanding balance of $108,952.15 is owed to Karen Waters. When Karen is paid the money that she is owed, she will have pocketed around $750,000 for running the mailers for the campaign since 2006.”
2) In 2005/2006, the left-leaning organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Maxine Waters as one of the 13 “Most Corrupt Members of Congress.” The CREW report cited a December 2004 Los Angeles Times investigation disclosing how three of Waters’ closest relatives had made more than $1 million during the preceding eight years by doing business with companies, candidates, and issue organizations that Waters had helped. One of these relatives was Waters’ aforementioned daughter Karen, who not only charged candidates for space on her mother’s “slate mailer,” but also received payments from a nonprofit organization which she and the congresswoman had established, and which was partially funded by special interests that Rep. Waters supported in Washington. Moreover, the Times reported that Waters’ husband Sidney had “collected fees for opening doors with his wife’s political allies on behalf of a bond firm seeking government business,” while Waters’ son Edward had “shared in the slate mailer proceeds and … occasionally worked as a consultant to campaigns his mother supported.”
The 2005 CREW report also included information about money that Rep. Waters’s husband and son had received as a result of the congresswoman’s political connections:
- “Rep. Waters’ husband, Sidney Williams, has also benefited financially from his wife’s political clout, working as a part-time consultant for a bond underwriting firm, Siebert, Brandford, & Shank. Despite having no apparent background in the bond business prior to his work as a consultant for the company, Mr. Williams has collected close to $500,000 by making valuable introductions for Siebert to politicians who have received his wife’s support. Government bond deals are awarded based on negotiations, allowing Mr. Williams to capitalize on his wife’s connections to close many lucrative business deals for Siebert, from which he has personally profited. For example, when school board members in Inglewood, a city in Rep. Waters’ congressional district to which she guaranteed a $10 million loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, needed a bond underwriting firm to handle a $40 million school bond sale, they chose Siebert. Mr. Williams earned $54,000 in commission from the deal.”
- “Rep. Waters’ son, Edward Waters, together with her husband Sidney Williams, benefited from Rep. Waters’ political connections when they won a 20-year lease to run the county-owned Chester Washington Golf Course in South Los Angeles. The key decision-maker for the deal was County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, in whose district the golf course was located. Rep. Waters handed the County Supervisor a victory just several months earlier when she endorsed Ms. Burke in a close election. Financial records indicate that Mr. Williams and Mr. Waters earned between $140,000 and $400,000 through the golf venture. In addition, both of Rep. Waters’ children have collected money working as paid consultants for politicians and interests endorsed by their mother.”
The 2005 CREW report explained that Members of the House are required to “adhere to 5 CFR §2635.702(a), issued by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics for the Executive Branch.” This statute stipulates that: “An employee shall not use or permit the use of his Government position or title or any authority associated with his public office in a manner that is intended to coerce or induce another person … to provide any benefit , financial or otherwise, to himself or to friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.” In CREW’s estimation: “Rep. Waters has assisted her family in making commercial deals from which they have reaped personal financial gain. By allowing the use of her name and authority associated with her position as a member of the House in this manner, Rep. Waters has run afoul of 5 CFR §2635.702(a). In addition, this conduct does not reflect creditably on the House of Representatives.”
Waters declined to be interviewed about these matters, saying only that her family members “do their business, and I do mine.” To view the 2005 CREW report (which is largely but not entirely identical to the 2006 report), click here.
3) During the national financial crisis that struck the U.S. in the autumn of 2008, Waters was lobbied by representatives of OneUnited Bank, a black-owned depository institution that was seeking a federal government bailout – despite the fact that a government agency had just criticized OneUnited for “operating without effective underwriting standards and practices,” “operating without an effective loan documentation program,” and “engaging in speculative investment practices.” Michelle Malkin summarizes the case as follows:
“OneUnited Bank received $12 million in federal TARP bailout money after Waters’ office personally intervened and lobbied the Treasury Department in 2008. The minority depository institution was seeking a backdoor government rescue from its reckless decision to squander nearly $52 million of its bank capital on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac preferred stock. Lavish spending by top bank executive Kevin Cohee, who boasted a company-financed Porsche and a Santa Monica, Calif., beachfront mansion, compounded the bank’s problems….
“Only through Waters’ intervention was OneUnited able to secure an emergency meeting with the Treasury and its then-Secretary Henry Paulson. The bailout beggars did so under the guise of representing the ‘National Bankers Association.’ But records obtained by congressional investigators showed that OneUnited’s legal counsel, vice president and president (the latter two are married to each other) spearheaded the meeting and its agenda and drafted the talking points/briefing material for Waters.
“OneUnited executives had donated $12,500 to Waters’ congressional campaigns. Her husband, Sidney Williams, was an investor in one of the banks that merged into OneUnited. His stock holdings were estimated at $350,000. Waters meddled despite warnings from fellow Democratic Rep. Barney Frank to keep her nose out of the case.
“E-mails obtained by public interest legal foundation Judicial Watch and … the Washington Post reveal that federal bank examiners were livid about the intervention of … Waters. ‘There are some really good people expressing very strong opinions regarding what they view as a travesty of justice regarding the special treatment’ OneUnited is receiving, acting regional director John M. Lane complained in a March 2009 e-mail to Christopher J. Spoth, a senior FDIC consumer protection official.
“On Jan. 13, 2009, Brookly McLaughlin, then-Treasury Department deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, e-mailed her shock at Waters’ apparent conflict of interest regarding OneUnited: ‘Further to email below, WSJ [Wall Street Journal] tells me: …Apparently this bank is the only one that has gotten money through section 103-6 of the EESA law. And Maxine Waters’ husband is on the board of the bank. ??????’”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which named Waters to its list of “Most Corrupt Members of Congress” because of this matter in both 2009 and 2011, said at the time: “In the midst of a national financial catastrophe, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) used her position as a senior member of Congress and member of the House Financial Services Committee to prevail upon Treasury officials to meet with OneUnited Bank. She never disclosed that her husband held stock in the bank. This outrageous conduct has led [CREW]o include the congresswoman as one of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress.” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan added: “By contacting then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to request a meeting, allegedly for a group of minority-owned banks, but then arranging for only one bank – OneUnited, in which she had a financial interest – to attend, Rep. Waters violated House conflict of interest rules.”
“Congresswoman Waters abused her office,” said CREW in June 2010, “and she must be held accountable for her actions. The Statement of Alleged Violation[s] released by the House Ethics Committee confirms the congresswoman intervened on behalf of OneUnited Bank despite the fact that she knew her actions constituted a conflict of interest.” That House Ethics Committee report was a damning document showing a series of emails wherein Waters, through her chief of staff (and grandson) Mikael Moore, was actively involved in the OneUnited matter, communicating back and forth with bank officials and discussing what progress was being made, as well as strategy going forward.
On August 2, 2010, the House Ethics Committee filed three charges against Waters, alleging that she had used her influence to gain special favors (from the federal government) for OneUnited.
In September 2012, the House Ethics Committee issued a report clearing Waters of all ethics charges related to allegations that she had tried to secure federal bailout money for OneUnited during the 2008 financial crisis. According to The Hill: “The committee’s report determined that Waters had taken significant steps to remove herself from negotiations involving One United Bank’s bailout, including alerting Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the then-chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, about the possible conflict of interest.” The Ethics Committee did rule, however, that Waters’ grandson and chief of staff Mikael Moore had somehow proceeded, without the congresswoman’s knowledge or approval, to lobby for special treatment for OneUnited. The Washington Examiner noted that: “At best, that shows that Waters runs a haphazard office. At worst, it suggests she deliberately took steps to avoid prosecution” – i.e., by having all her communications with OneUnited go through Moore.
In response to the House Ethics Committee decision regarding Waters, CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan issued the following statement:
“CREW accepts the conclusions of House Ethics Committee outside counsel Billy Martin exonerating Rep. Waters, but urges the committee to immediately release Mr. Martin’s report explaining why the congresswoman’s actions on behalf of a bank in which her husband maintained a financial interest did not constitute a conflict.
“As both Mr. Martin and the committee noted, questions remain about the actions of Rep. Waters’ chief of staff, Mikael Moore. Today we learned that at some point, the congresswoman directed Mr. Moore to stay out of the OneUnited Bank matter. Whether Mr. Moore sent two additional emails to the House Financial Services Committee referencing the bank before or after this conversation is unclear. Further, Mr. Moore’s claim that Rep. Waters directed him to steer clear of the OneUnited matter for just one day does not make sense. Nevertheless, as Mr. Moore did not have a personal financial interest in OneUnited, it is hard to imagine why he would continue to push the issue once Rep. Waters had told him to stop.
“Despite the problems with Mr. Moore’s past statements, given that the committee has exonerated Rep. Waters, it is strange that it would find Mr. Moore has brought discredit upon the House. Taking into account all of the misconduct the committee previously has excused,… it is unclear what the Ethics Committee expects to gain by taking such a hard line against a staff member who did not stand to personally benefit from his actions.”
According to Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, California Democratic congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, a friend of Waters, helped delay Waters’s trial before the House Ethics Committee by stalling subpoenas and improperly firing two lawyers who were working on the investigation. “Six of ten House Ethics panel members quit the case in 2012 over questions about their partiality,” writes Michelle Malkin, noting that it was ultimately “an outside investigator” who “absolved Waters of any wrongdoing.”
4) In November 2010, The Washington Times reported: “A lobbyist known as one of California’s most successful power brokers while serving as a legislative leader in that state paid Rep. Maxine Waters’ husband $15,000 in consulting fees at a time she was co-sponsoring legislation that would help save the real-estate finance business” of one of the lobbyist’s best-paying clients…” Four years earlier, in 2006, an IRS report had declared such “real-estate finance businesses” to be a “scam.”
Waters’s Accusations of White “Racism,” and Her Contempt for Black Conservatives
Throughout her career in Congress, Waters has routinely depicted white people who do not share her political or ideological values, as racists.
- In 1984, Waters said that President Ronald Reagan ran on a platform “which snidely suggested that he was going to put Blacks in their place once and for all.” She derided Reagan’s black supporters, meanwhile, as “Uncle Tom” and “Aunt Tomasina.”
- When Waters endorsed Bill Clinton for U.S. President in 1992, she accused Clinton’s Republican opponent, incumbent President George H.W. Bush, of being “a racist” who had “polarized the races in this country,” and as “a mean-spirited man who has no care or concern about what happens to the African-American community in this country.” “I think that Bill Clinton is much better on the race question than George Bush,” Waters added. “Not good enough, but most whites in America are not good enough on the race question, and we all understand that. I just think that George Bush is worse than most.”
- Ron Christie, an African American who served as special assistant to President George W. Bush and deputy assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney from 2001-04, recalls that when he began working in 1991 as a young legislative aide for Republican Congressman Craig James, “it didn’t take long” for Maxine Waters to chastise him. Waters called Christie on the phone and said, “Young man, this is Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and I would like to speak to you immediately.” When Christie went to Waters’s office as instructed, the congresswoman asked him angrily: “What are you doing working for Mr. James?… I want to know why you’re working for a Republican. Are you confused?” When Christie identified himself as a Republican and stated that “I work with Congressman James because I share his values,” Waters thundered: “You’re a sellout to your race! White people work for Republicans! Not African Americans! You’re nothing but an Uncle Tom!”
- In 2001 Waters depicted the retiring moderate Republican mayor of Los Angeles, Richard Riordan, as a “plantation owner.”
- Waters played the race card in August 2010, when the House Ethics Committee was investigating her for having used her political influence to help officials of OneUnited Bank get a special meeting in 2008 with then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson – a meeting that laid the groundwork for OneUnited receiving $12 million in federal TARP bailout money. OneUnited was a depository institution whose executives had donated $12,500 to Waters’ congressional campaigns, and in which Waters’s husband held some $350,000 worth of stock. “The question at this point should not be why I called Secretary Paulson, but why I had to,” said Waters defiantly. “The question at this point should be why a trade association representing over 100 minority banks could not get a meeting at the height of the [2008 financial] crisis.”
- Waters objected strenuously to the Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in Shelby County [Alabama] v. Holder, where the Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act — a provision that required states with histories of election-related discrimination to obtain federal pre-approval for any new voting measure they wished to adopt — was unconstitutional, as it had become nothing more than an anachronism. Waters denounced the new ruling as a “slick, calculated, dastardly decision to keep us [blacks] from voting and keep us from the voting booth.”
- Waters likewise objected to North Carolina’s July 2013 decision to approve new laws requiring voters to present government-issued IDs at their polling places, shortening the early voting period from 17 days to 10, doing away with same-day voter registration, and requiring that any changes in voter registration be made at least 25 days before an election. Asserting that “North Carolina has just gone crazy,” Waters condemned “the right-wing Republicans” who were “pushing restrictive voter ID legislation” not only in North Carolina but “in states around the country,” in order to “make it more difficult for us [blacks] to make our voices heard.”
- In August 2014, Waters traveled to St. Louis to attend the funeral of Michael Brown, a 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound black man who had been shot and killed during a highly publicized altercation with a white police officer named Darren Wilson two weeks earlier in Ferguson, Missouri. “I have been in contact with some of the elected officials and community leaders in the St. Louis area and join with the overall community in calling for justice for Michael Brown,” Waters said in a statement issued shortly before the funeral. Adding that she was “particularly sympathetic to the parents and relatives of Michael Brown for their loss,” Waters vowed that “while I am in St. Louis, I will meet with local leaders and offer my assistance in future political organizing to help create change in the Ferguson community.” Ultimately, the evidence pertaining to this case showed that: (a) Officer Wilson knew from the outset that Brown had just carried out a reported strongarmed robbery at a convenience store (apparently in frustration over the fact that his attempted drug deal with an employee at that store had failed to materialize as planned); (b) Brown initiated the attack on Officer Wilson while the latter was still inside his police car; (c) Brown grabbed Wilson’s gun during the initial struggle, causing the weapon to fire twice; (d) the much-smaller Wilson, who feared for his life during the struggle, repeatedly told Brown to surrender, but to no avail; and (e) Brown, who had marijuana in his system and on his possession at the time of his altercation with Wilson, was aggressively charging the officer when he was fatally shot.
- In a May 9, 2017 podcast with The Washington Post, Waters asserted that former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, whom President Donald Trump had appointed as Attorney General, was “a racist”; “a throwback to the days of Jim Crow in the South”; a man who “absolutely believes that it’s his job to keep minorities in their place”; and a man sympathetic to the Ku Klux Klan. She said it was “very dangerous” for the U.S. to have Sessions as the Attorney General, given the fact that “we’re still faced with the fact that police officers will not be charged criminally, for the most part, for killing people of color.”
- When Fox News host Tucker Carlson in 2017 questioned how Waters had managed to become so wealthy during the course of her 26 years in Congress – e.g., she owned a $4.8 million mansion in the upscale Hancock Park section of Los Angeles – the congresswoman accused Carlson of racism. Said Waters: “I own several properties. The Way Carlson talked about it is: What right does an African-American woman have to do well? He doesn’t know anything about my investments, about the house that I’ve lived in for 25, 30 years. This idea of ‘How could she afford that?’ is racist, and I just dismiss it.” In response, Carlson reported that according to real-estate records, Waters had purchased her home just 13 years earlier, and had spent “an awful lot since to remodel it.”
- In early August 2017, Waters was angered by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz’s remarks about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent decision to impanel a grand jury to investigate Donald Trump (and his presidential campaign’s relationship with Russia) in the District of Columbia rather than in Virginia. Said Dershowitz: “[Washington] has an ethnic and racial composition that would be somewhat less favorable to Donald Trump.” Waters, in turn, characterized Dershowitz’s statement as “absolutely racist” and vowed, “We will not stand for it.”
- On March 4, 2018, Waters reacted angrily to reports that President Donald Trump, at the annual Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington the night before, had said of the congresswoman: “She has to immediately take an IQ test.” Said Waters: “This president has been called stupid, he has been called ignorant, and even his Secretary of State did not deny that he called him a moron. And so he has no credibility. He has been name calling. He’s been saying all kinds of things. And I certainly expected him to come out with some racist remarks about me. So he did exactly what I expected him do. And, by the way, I’m told he wasn’t funny at all.”
- In a July 12, 2020 interview on MSNBC’s AM Joy program with Joy Reid, Waters said: “This justice system is broken. It has never really been in our [blacks’] favor, and it has basically been responsible for ensuring that we could never ever get beyond this suppression and this oppression that has been forced upon us for so many years. So those who criticize Black Lives Matter, they can continue to do that, but I want to tell you the time has come now where we are joined by so many others who really were not there for us in the past. You saw it in all of the protests where you had whites and blacks and Asians and old and young, all saying something is wrong with this country. Something is wrong with our criminal justice system. Something is wrong with our policing. It is racism.”
- In the aftermath of an August 23, 2020 incident in which a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin had shot and wounded a black criminal suspect, Waters tweeted: “When will it stop? When will the police that we pay to protect & serve stop killing black people? In the words of [NBA coach] Doc Rivers: ‘We keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back?’ But love doesn’t last forever! Another unarmed black man, shot in the back, by a WI police officer! No matter the outrage at the [May 25, 2020] killing of George Floyd by a police officer, knee on his neck, the killing of black men continues. Is this a defiance by the police that indicates they don’t intend to stop?”
Waters’s Contempt for President Donald Trump and His Associates
* Waters boycotted Republican Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration on January 21, 2017. She explained her reasoning as follows: “After I discovered who Trump is in the way that he conducted himself, I was never going to go to the inauguration. I never planned, I never contemplated even going near any of those activities or those events…. There’s nothing about him that I would want to be involved with, and certainly the inauguration is a way of welcoming in someone to the presidency and honoring them and respecting them. I don’t honor him, I don’t respect him, and I don’t want to be involved with him.”
* In a February 2017 appearance on MSNBC, Waters read a list of people connected to the Trump administration – Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Wilbur Ross, and Rex Tillerson – who allegedly had ties to Russia and the oil and gas industries. She then said: “Can’t people see what’s going on? Why do you think they [the Russians] hacked into our election? They hacked into the election because they have to make sure that Donald Trump got elected. So this that he could help them with what I think [is] a huge deal. Not only to lift these sanctions [against Russia] but to take over all of these Soviet countries and pull them back into the Soviet Union so they can have access to all of these resources. It’s clear to me and I just think the American people have to have a better understand what’s going on. This is a bunch of scumbags. That’s what they are.”
* In February 2017 as well, Waters attempted to make the case that President Trump was incompetent. In the course of her remarks, she said: “How can a president who is acting in the manner that he’s acting, whether he’s talking about the travel ban, the way he’s targeted Muslims, or whether he’s talking about his relationship to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Kremlin – and knowing that they have hacked our D-triple-C [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and DNC, and knowing that he is responsible for supplying the bombs that killed innocent children and families in, um, in um.” At that point, Waters hesitated, having forgotten the name of the conflict zone in which Putin’s military had been shelling civilians; someone who was standing near Waters reminded her that Putin’s aggression had been targeted at the Syrian city of Aleppo. “Yeah, in Aleppo,” Waters continued. “And the fact that he [Trump] is wrapping his arms around Putin while Putin is continuing to advance, uh, into – Korea?” (She was apparently trying to cite the fact that Russia had annexed Crimea in March 2014.) “Uh, I think that he [Trump] is leading himself into that kind of position where folks will begin to ask, what are we going to do?” Waters added. “And the answer is going to be, eventually, we’ve got to do something about him. We cannot continue to have a president who’s acting in this manner. It is dangerous to the United States of America.”
* In a March 9, 2017 interview with MSNBC, Waters voiced her determination to examine the explosive allegations about President Trump that were contained in a dossier which had been published in January by the website Buzzfeed. Specifically, the dossier claimed that the Russian government was using a video recording of Trump and his associates cavorting with Russian prostitutes, as a tool for blackmailing the president, and that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, had met with Russian agents in 2016 to discuss ways of undermining Hillary Clinton‘s presidential campaign. “I think it should be taken a look at,” said Waters. “I think they should really read it, understand it, analyze it, and determine what’s fact, what may not be fact. We already know the part about the coverage they have on him with sex actions is supposed to be true. They have said that’s absolutely true. Some other things they kind of allude to. Yes, I think he should go into that dossier and see what’s there…. I think that if we do the investigations, that we will find the connections and I do think that impeachment will be necessary.” It was subsequently learned that the compilation of the anti-Trump dossier was overseen by Fusion GPS, an opposition-research firm funded by Democratic donors, and that the information in the dossier was derived from Russian intelligence agents.
* On June 11, 2017, Waters spoke at the annual L.A. Pride Parade and Resist March, where she called for the impeachment of President Trump: “He is not my president. He is not your president. He lies. He cheats. He’s a bully. He disrespects us all. If he thinks he can mess with the LGBT community, he better look at what happened right here in West Hollywood. You deny, you disrespect, and you will find that there are people who have the courage to organize and to take back whatever needs to be taken back. We resist this president because he stands for the worst of everything. And guess what, I know that people may not quite be ready. I know some are a little hesitant. I know some are saying I’m not so sure, Maxine, that what you are saying is the right thing, but I’m saying, impeach 45 [Trump was the 45th U.S. President]. Impeach 45.”
* The foregoing remarks were in stark contrast to what Waters had said during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998, calling it “a Republican coup d’etat” and describing Republicans as “the vehicles being used by the right wing Christian Coalition extremists to direct and control our culture.”
* At the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans in early July 2017, Waters said the following about Ben Carson, President Trump’s Department of Housing of Urban Development (HUD) Secretary: “He knows nothing about the mission of HUD. He doesn’t care about people in public housing. He believes that if you are poor, it is your own fault. And he doesn’t know the difference between an immigrant and a slave. And if he thinks when he comes before my committee where I am the ranking member of the financial services [i.e., she is the ranking member of the Financial Services Committee] that I am going to give him a pass… I am going to take his ass apart.” Waters’ reference to Carson’s alleged inability to distinguish between an immigrant and a slave, was related to a March 2017 speech in which Carson, after discussing poor immigrants who had worked long hours for little pay, said: “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less.”
* Also in her July 2017 speech in New Orleans, Waters reiterated her contempt for President Trump: “Ladies and gentleman, I am taking off the gloves. I don’t honor him, I don’t respect him and I am not going to tolerate him. I am going to do everything I can do to get him impeached.”
* On August 4, 2017, Waters was a guest on the ABC program The View. At one point, the discussion turned to the topic of the persistent leaks (and publication) of sensitive information pertaining to President Trump and his White House team. The most recent example, at that time, was when The Washington Post on August 3rd had published, verbatim, the complete transcripts of conversations Trump had had with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shortly after his inauguration in January 2017. Against that backdrop, Waters had the following exchange with Paula Faris, co-host of The View:
FARIS: “There’s a lot of Democrats disturbed by the this because it threatens our national security. Are you disturbed by it?”
WATERS: “No, not at all. I’m so glad they’re telling us what’s going on.”
FARIS: “We don’t need to hear these conversations. They’re confidential. This threatens national security.”
WATERS: “I need to hear these conversations. I need to hear – Unfortunately this is his problem. He is in a White House where he’s got people working for him that don’t believe in him, don’t like what he’s doing and they’re trying to tell the American public something.”
* Another of the The View‘s co-hosts, Joy Behar, asked Waters: “Do you think [Vice President Mike] Pence will be better than Trump if he [Trump] were impeached? ” The congresswoman replied, “No. And when we finish with Trump, we have to go and get Putin. He’s next.” Behar then asked Waters if she had meant to say “Pence” rather than “Putin” (the President of Russia), and Waters clarified that she had meant to say Pence.
* In an August 6, 2017 appearance on the MSNBC program AM Joy, Waters doubled down on her position regarding the White House leaks: “I welcome the leaks. I welcome the information. That keeps us focused on him [Trump] and talking about what is wrong with him.”
* While delivering a eulogy during the September 16, 2017 funeral of the late comedian and social critic Dick Gregory, Waters attacked Trump once again, saying: “I’m cleaning out the White House. We’re going to sanitize the White House. We’re not going to take what is happening in this country. Haven’t you taken enough? And then comes along this person. This person who does not respect you. This dishonorable human being who cheats everybody! This dishonorable human being who will lie at the drop of a hat. This dishonorable human being who has the alt-right, and the KKK and everybody else inside his Cabinet! This dishonorable human being who can criticize everybody but [Vladimir] Putin and Russia…. Not only are we going to clean out the White House. We’re going to take back the house that slaves built!… And I know my colleagues get very upset. Some get afraid when I say ‘impeachment.’ When I get through with Donald Trump, he’s going to wish he had been impeached! I feel it very deeply — I am so offended by him and I love my people so much I’m not gonna put up with it. I’m gonna say ‘Impeach 45 everyday,’ ‘Impeach 45 everyday,’ ‘Impeach 45 everyday.’”
* At a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation event on September 21, 2017, Waters asserted that Congress could impeach a president for any reason it chose. “Impeachment is about whatever the Congress says it is,” she said. “There is no law that can dictate impeachment. What the Constitution says is high crimes and misdemeanors, and we define that. Bill Clinton got impeached because he lied.”
* On February 24, 2018, Waters likened Trump to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, though she mispronounced Kim’s name: “All I see is two heads of state, Donald Trump and Kim Jong Um (sic), both who have questionable agendas and questionable mental health.”
* In April 2018, Waters said: “I believe that the president of the United States is perhaps the most despicable, the most deplorable human being that I’ve ever encountered in my life. He does not deserve to be president of the United States. I want him impeached. I don’t want to wait until 2020. I think this country deserves better. He has no respect for our democracy.”
* In June 2018, Waters stated that Trump “loves the strongmen and the dictators of the world because he wants to be just like them. He wants to run the country [America] like them.”
* On June 24, 2018, Waters encouraged Americans to rise up and harass members of the Trump administration wherever they might appear in public places. “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,” the congresswoman told a crowd of supporters. And in a message to the president himself, Waters said: “Already you have members of your cabinet that are being booed out of restaurants, who have protesters taking up at their house. No peace, no sleep. No peace, no sleep.” And during an interview on MSNBC, Waters stated: “I have no sympathy for these people that are in this administration. For these members of his cabinet who remain and try to defend him – they are not going to be able to go to a restaurant they are not going to be able to stop at a gas station they are not going to be able to shop at a department store.”
Two days later, a young journalist named Laura Loomer walked up to Waters and spoke to her while the congresswoman was walking with an entourage inside the Capitol Building. Loomer began by identifying herself as “an investigative journalist” and “a Trump supporter,” to which Waters replied: “Okay. Come to my office I’ll be happy to sit down with you. We can’t talk on the run.” The rest of their exchange (see video) went as follows:
Loomer: I would like to ask you questions. (As Waters waves her hand behind her to block the camera) Please don’t push my camera out of my hands. You just encouraged your supporters to harass Trump supporters and officials.
Waters: Please come to my office and sit down with me. … Please sit down with me.
Loomer: I just wanted to ask you: Where are conservatives allowed to go? Are there separate—do we sit at the back of the bus?
Waters: (As Waters approaches the elevator with her entourage, she waves a sheaf of documents in Loomer’s face.) “Please come to my office and talk with me. We’ll be happy to talk with you.”
Loomer: Where can we eat? Where can a conservative eat at a restaurant in Washington, D.C.?
Waters: Please come to my office and be civil. Please come to my office and talk with me.
Loomer: You’re talking about civility. Do you think it’s civil to call for the harassment of Trump officials?
Waters: Please come to my office and sit down and talk with me.
Following the incident described above, Loomer filed a police report in Washington, D.C. to press assault charges against Waters. Said Loomer: “When I confronted her regarding her call for targeted harassment of Trump administration officials, Ms. Waters assaulted me 3 times. She hit my hand to try to knock my phone out of my hand, and then she hit me in the face with her papers twice.”
* At an Essence Fest in July 2019, Waters condemned Trump for having called NFL national-anthem protesters like Colin Kaepernick “sons of bitches” and said of Trump: “He’s the only SOB I know.” Also in her remarks, Waters said: “I’m not intimidated. I’m not afraid. All of my life I have been trained to deal with demagogues like him. I will take him on any day of the week…. Show Donald Trump who we are! We don’t take shit from nobody.”
* In a July 22, 2019 tweet, Waters predicted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appearance before Congress on July 24 would open the door for Democrats to impeach President Trump “immediately.” Wrote Waters: “The Judiciary members have a good plan to force more info out of Mueller when he testifies before the committee. If this works, this will give us the ammunition we need to start impeachment immediately…. It ain’t over until it’s over & it ain’t over until Trump is held responsible for all of his crimes. Impeachment first, prison next!”
* In October 2019, Waters tweeted: “Impeachment is not good enough for Trump. He needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement. But for now, impeachment is the imperative.”
* During a February 20, 2020 episode of Showtime’s Desus & Mero, Waters said of Trump: “This guy is a street player. He’s a guy that has conned folks. He has flirted with gangsters. I have worked in some of the toughest communities. I’ve worked with gangs, I’ve worked with Crips, I’ve worked with Bloods. And there’s more integrity in many of these young people in the hood than this man has. This is a flawed character, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
* In the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that was gaining steam across the U.S and around the world in March 2020, Waters, in a series of tweets, called President Trump an “incompetent idiot” whose “stupidity” had made him “a failure” at dealing with the crisis. “Your ignorance & incompetence are appalling & you continue to demonstrate that every time you open your mouth!” said the congresswoman.
* In May 2020, Waters tweeted: “Trump doesn’t care about the 80,000+ people who’ve died from #Coronavirus! He only wants to open up the economy so he can go back to having his white power pep rallies! The death & economic devastation we are facing is b/c Trump failed to act early & called #COVID19 a HOAX!”
* In a June 2020 appearance on MSNBC, Waters said of Trump: “As he said, we have to take back our country. Who he is talking about taking it back from? Basically, he’s talking about whites being in total power, and total control and blacks and people of color and others are having to live under the domination of white power as they see it.”
In a July 12, 2020 interview on MSNBC’s AM Joy program with Joy Reid, Waters said: “I think you said it earlier today when you talked about this need for Trump and those who support him to want to, you know, have absolute power and to believe that it is their right and their responsibility to ensure that blacks and people of color and others do not rise to any level of influence and power, significant that would cause them not to be in total charge of the country.”
More on Maxine Waters
Maxine Waters was born on August 15, 1938, in a St. Louis, Missouri housing project. She was the fifth of thirteen children, raised by a single mother in a home that was visited regularly by welfare and social workers. In 1961 Waters moved to Los Angeles, where she took jobs working for a garment factory and a telephone company. In 1966 she was hired as an assistant teacher with the Head Start program in the Watts section of Los Angeles. During her tenure with Head Start, Waters studied sociology at California State University, eventually graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1970.
Waters Enters Politics
Waters entered politics in 1973 as chief deputy to Los Angeles City Councilman David Cunningham. Three years later she was elected to the California Assembly, the lower house of the state legislature, where she went on to serve from 1977-91.
In 1980 Waters became a member of the Democratic National Committee and subsequently served as a key leader in the presidential campaigns of Ted Kennedy (1980), Jesse Jackson (Waters was the national co-chair of Jackson’s White House bids in 1984 & 1988), and Bill Clinton (1992 & 1996).
Waters Accuses the CIA of Selling Crack Cocaine in Black Neighborhoods
In the 1980s Waters accused the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of selling crack cocaine in black urban neighborhoods across the country. At that time, the Christic Institute was making high-profile claims that “a criminal enterprise of retired military officers, former intelligence officials, and private ‘soldiers of fortune’” had allowed Colombian drug traffickers to smuggle crack cocaine from their native country to the United States through Contra-controlled bases in Central America. According to the Christic Institute, that cocaine was then sold—with the full knowledge of officials in the Reagan White House, the Justice Department, and the CIA—to dealers and users in mostly-black U.S. ghettos. The revenues from those sales, in turn, were allegedly used to finance the Reagan-supported Contra war against the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua. The Christic Institute used these charges as the basis for a lawsuit it filed against a number of CIA agents. Moreover, the charges gained considerable public traction through a series of exposé articles in the San Jose Mercury-News by reporter Gary Webb. Waters cited Webb’s articles as proof of a racist plot that was designed to turn black urban areas into vast crack dens and, by logical extension, fill America’s prisons with black inmates. At a town hall meeting about the allegations, the congresswoman shouted, “If I never do anything else in this career as a member of Congress, I’m gonna make somebody pay for what they’ve done to my community and to my people!”
Ultimately, however, most of the witnesses whom the Christic Institute named in the case turned out to be fictitious people, prompting U.S. District Court Judge James Lawrence King to dismiss the “frivolous” suit on grounds of insufficient evidence. In February 1989, King also mandated that the Christic Institute pay more than $1 million to cover the legal fees of five CIA officials whom the Institute had falsely accused. Nine years after that, an Inspector General’s report cleared the CIA of complicity with the inner-city crack cocaine trade and refuted charges that CIA officials had known that their Nicaraguan allies were dealing drugs. Even journalist Gary Webb finally conceded that there was no hard evidence indicating that the CIA as an institution, or any of its agent-employees, had participated in, or profited from, the trafficking of drugs. But when Webb and the San Jose Mercury-News retracted the story on which Waters had based her allegations, the congresswoman was undeterred, telling the Los Angeles Times in 1997: “It doesn’t matter whether the CIA delivered the kilo of cocaine themselves or turned their back on it to let somebody else do it. They’re guilty just the same.”
National Rainbow Coalition
Waters Is Elected to Congress
When longtime Democratic Congressman Augustus Hawkins retired in 1990 from his post as the Representative of California’s 29th Congressional District, Waters was anointed as his successor by Democratic Party bosses and easily won election. She has served in the U.S. House of Representatives ever since, representing the 29th District from 1991-93, the 35th District from 1993-2013, and the 43rd District from 2013 to the present. Further, Waters has been a longtime member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus, the latter of which she chaired in 1997-98.
Waters’s Views Regarding the Los Angeles Riots of 1992, and Her Light-Hearted Hijinks with Gang Members
During the April 1992 riots that took place in the wake of the infamous Rodney King trial, Waters described the violence (in which at least 58 people were killed) as “a spontaneous reaction to a lot of injustice and a lot of alienation and frustration.” Chanting the slogan “No justice, no peace,” she attributed the rioters’ underlying rage to the federal government’s allegedly longstanding “neglect” of America’s inner cities. Asserting that racial injustice was rampant in America, Waters claimed that the L.A. tumult could rightly be called a “rebellion” or “insurrection,” but not a riot. “Riot implies to me wild, crazed, uncalled-for actions,” she explained, “and I’m not so sure that’s quite appropriate for what took place in Los Angeles.” “If you call it a riot,” the congresswoman added, “it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason. I maintain it was somewhat understandable, if not acceptable. So I call it a rebellion.”
Waters held “economic, social, cultural and political” factors responsible for the disorder in Los Angeles. She dismissed the mass black looting of Korean-owned stores in the area by saying: “There were mothers who took this as an opportunity to take some milk, to take some bread, to take some shoes. Maybe they shouldn’t have done it, but the atmosphere was such that they did it. They are not crooks.” “One lady said her children didn’t have any shoes,” Waters added. “She just saw those shoes there, a chance for all of her children to have new shoes.… It was such a tear-jerker. I might have gone in and taken them for her myself.”
One of the individuals who was gravely injured in the violence was a white man named Reginald Denny, whom a group of rioters pulled out of his truck and bashed in the head with a cinder block – simply because of the color of his skin. The entire incident was videotaped from a helicopter above the scene. When Damian Williams, the ringleader of the mob that attacked Denny, was later arrested, Waters visited Williams’ family to offer her support. And when Williams and his chief accomplice in the Denny beating were eventually acquitted on the most serious charges against them, Waters again visited Williams’ home to convey her congratulations.
By no means was this the only time that Waters has made common cause with violent black criminals. Indeed, she once joined with gang members belonging to the fearsome Crips and Bloods, in performing a communal dance called the “Electric Slide” at a housing project party.
Waters Attends Anti-Semitic Farrakhan Rally
In 2002, Waters attended a Nation of Islam convention where the organization’s leader, Louis Farrakhan, stated that because the United States was supplying Israel with military equipment and weaponry, Palestinians had no choice but to engage in suicide bombings. “The Palestinians have nothing to defend themselves with, so they’re so exhausted and exasperated, think about that, strapping bombs to themselves, making themselves a weapon,” he said. “And then for the world to get upset because Iran or somebody is trying to send them [Palestinians] some weapons. Wait a minute. If you were Jewish and you saw unarmed Jews being persecuted, wouldn’t you come to your brothers’ aid? Do you expect Muslims to see their brothers suffering like that and not come to their aid?” At one point during the proceedings, Farrakhan told the audience: “We have Maxine Waters here, our great congresswoman from this area.” The audience, in response, cheered Waters’s name.
Waters & The Progressive Majority
Waters Speaks at “Take Back America” Conferences
At a massive abortion-rights rally in Washington, D.C. on April 25, 2004, Waters is reported to have said: “I have to march because my mother could not have an abortion.” Other sources, however, claim that it has not been proven that Waters actually spoke those words on that day.
The Out Of Iraq Congressional Caucus
In June 2005 Waters co-founded and chaired the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus (OICC), an entity dedicated to agitating for a swift withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Iraqi theater of war – alleging that the American invasion in 2003 had been launched on a pretext of lies and deliberately manipulated intelligence. Waters’ fellow OICC co-founders included John Conyers, William Delahunt, Barbara Lee, John R. Lewis, Charles Rangel, Jan Schakowsky, and Lynn Woolsey.
Support for Antiwar Activist Cindy Sheehan
Waters Meets With Louis Farrakhan
In early 2006, Waters and at least three fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus — Barbara Lee, Al Green, and William Jefferson — met with Louis Farrakhan to discuss how the U.S. government should respond to the devastation that Hurricane Katrina had inflicted on the Gulf Coast a few months earlier. Farrakhan praised Waters and the other CBC members for the statements they had made on that crisis at a recent House Financial Services Subcommittee meeting and asked them to “tell me how I can be of service.” Waters replied: “I think we need to get together and talk about how we’re going to put New Orleans on the national agenda.” (To view a video of Waters hugging Farrakhan at that meeting, click here.)
Waters and the 2008 Financial Crisis
Waters’ affinity for the unsound economic policies that ultimately caused the financial crisis of 2008 are worth examining. Specifically, the congresswoman supported the early-1990s decision by the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to pressure the government-sponsored enterprises [GSEs] Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest sources of housing finance in the United States, to earmark a rising percentage of their loans for low-income borrowers. These political pressures entirely restructured the landscape of the mortgage-lending industry. Thus, subprime loans, which had constituted a tiny percentage of all mortgages in the ’90s, accounted for fully 19% of mortgages by 2006. At the same time, other nontraditional loans (such as zero-downpayment loans) accounted for nearly 14% of all loans by 2006. With so many underqualified borrowers now holding mortgages which they would be unable to pay, the real-estate market became a proverbial house of cards whose collapse was inevitable. “It was ultimately the skyrocketing rates of mortgage delinquencies and defaults,” writes Hoover Institution Fellow Thomas Sowell, “that were like heavy rain in the mountains that caused the flooding downstream…. Government was not passively inefficient. It was actively zealous in promoting risky mortgage lending practices.”
But Waters foresaw none of this. In fact, she opposed efforts to head off the disaster. At a September 2003 hearing of the House Committee on Financial Services, for instance, the congresswoman said: “Mr. Chairman, we do not have a crisis at Freddie Mac, and in particular at Fannie Mae, under the outstanding leadership of Mr. Frank Raines. Everything in the 1992 act has worked just fine. In fact, the GSEs have exceeded their housing goals. What we need to do today is to focus on the regulator, and this must be done in a manner so as not to impede their affordable housing mission, a mission that has seen innovation flourish from desktop underwriting to 100 percent loans.” Emphasizing her support for policies that permitted nonwhites to obtain mortgages even if they failed to meet the financial qualifications for standard loans – e.g., being able to make a down-payment on a home purchase – Waters happily announced that “since the inception of goals from 1993 to 2002, loans to African-Americans increased 219 percent and loans to Hispanics increased 244 percent, while loans to non-minorities increased 62 percent. Additionally, in 2001, 43.1 percent of Fannie Mae’s single-family business served low-and moderate-income borrowers….” “The GSEs are working,” Waters declared triumphantly, reiterating her opposition to increased oversight.
In an October 2008 panel discussion on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, the Wall Street Journal‘s Stephen Moore confronted Waters with the charge that she had received “$15,000 of campaign contributions from Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac],” both of which played major roles in the housing-market collapse. Waters protested angrily: “No I didn’t…. That is a lie and I challenge you to find $15,000 that I took from Fannie PAC.” A 2008 report by the Center for Responsive Politics showed that Waters had indeed accepted $15,000 from the PACs of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac in recent years, plus another $2,800 from employees of those two entities.
Waters’s View Regarding Israel’s Right to Defend Itself Against Hamas Terrorists
In January 2009 Waters voted “No” on House Resolution 34, titled “Recognizing Israel’s Right to Defend Itself Against Attacks from Gaza, Reaffirming the United States’ Strong Support for Israel, and Supporting the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process.” The bill began by articulating the fact that Hamas:
- “was founded with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel”;
- “has been designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization”;
- “has refused to … recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, and agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians”;
- “has launched thousands of rockets and mortars against Israeli population centers since 2001”;
- “has increased the range and payload of its rockets”; and
- “locates elements of its terrorist infrastructure in civilian population centers, thus using innocent civilians as human shields.”
As a response to the foregoing realities, HR 34 stated that the House of Representatives:
- “expresses vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizes its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against Hamas’s unceasing aggression”;
- “reiterates that Hamas must end the rocket and mortar attacks against Israel, recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, agree to accept previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, and verifiably dismantle its terrorist infrastructure”;
- “encourages the Administration to work actively to support a durable and sustainable cease-fire in Gaza, as soon as possible, that prevents Hamas from retaining or rebuilding its terrorist infrastructure, including the capability to launch rockets and mortars against Israel”;
- “reiterates that humanitarian needs in Gaza should be addressed promptly and responsibly”;
- “calls on all nations to condemn Hamas for deliberately embedding its fighters, leaders, and weapons in private homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, and otherwise using Palestinian civilians as human shields, while simultaneously targeting Israeli civilians”; and
- “reiterates its strong support for a just and sustainable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict achieved through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”
HR 34 passed in the House of Representatives by a margin of 390 to 5, with Waters being one of the 5 dissenters.
Support for Continued Funding of ACORN
When the House of Representatives voted by a 345-75 margin to defund the notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN in September 2009, Waters was one of the 75—all Democrats—who voted to continue funding the group. For a list of other legislators who voted as Waters did, click here.
Waters’s Affiliation with the Progressive Democrats of America
Attempt to Interfere in Haitian Political Affairs
In a March 2011 email published by WikiLeaks, Thomas Adams, who was then the U.S. State Department’s Special Coordinator for Haiti, told Cheryl Mills, who was chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that Waters had pushed him to try to get her old friend, former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, re-admitted into Haiti. As GatewayPundit.com reports: “Waters feared Aristide would be blocked by Michel Martelly, who went on to win the election soon after. How close are Waters and Aristide? When the former president of Haiti [Aristide] was ousted in 2004, Maxine Waters was in the helicopter with him and on the tarmac when his plane landed in South Africa from Central African Republic.” Adams’ email read as follows:
“I took a call from Congresswoman Maxine Waters about two minutes before one…. The Congresswoman’s main point was that Former President Aristide needed to return before the election because Martelly, who in her opinion was bound to win, would not allow him back after the election, because he was ‘in the ton tons.’ How we could allow Baby Doc back and try to prevent Aristide was not understandable.
“I told her that if that was her fear, then it was unfounded, because Preval would remain in power until May. She said results would come out Sunday and that would be the end of his [Aristide’s] chances to come back. I said the contestation period meant that there would be no official results until April 16, so there was plenty of time for him to return after the election.
“She gave her own history of our relationship with Aristide…. She said she would follow up. She was not as hysterical as she has been on prior conversations, but did at one point say ‘what are you going to do when he returns in the company of Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte and maybe me, mow us all down?’ I thanked her for calling and sharing her views and said that we believed that the interests of the people of Haiti would best be served if they could vote in peace and calm.”
Contempt for the Tea Party Movement
In August 2011, Waters had some harsh words for the ascendant conservative movement known as the Tea Party: “I’m not afraid of anybody. This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned — the Tea Party can go straight to hell.”
Calling for a Federal Jobs Program
In September 2011, Waters called for the implementation of a federal “jobs program of a trillion dollars or more” that would “put Americans to work.” “That’s the only way to revitalize this economy,” she said. “When people work they earn money, they spend that money, and that’s what gets the economy up and going.”
Characterizing Republican Leaders as “Demons”
In February 2012, Waters delivered a speech to delegates at the California State Democratic Convention, in which she described House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as “demons” “who are … destroying this country because again they’d rather do whatever they can to destroy this president [Obama] rather than for the good of this country.”
Accusing Republicans of Unfairly Targeting and Attacking Muslims
- charged that “the focus of House Republicans on so-called Muslim radicalization” in recent months had caused “politicians and pundits” to start “attacking the Islamic faith as a security threat to the United States”;
- accused Republicans of “spreading fear and trying to convince state legislatures that the city adoption of Sharia tenets is a strategy extremists are using to transform the United States into an Islamic country”;
- complained that “one of the nation’s Republican Presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich, has called for a federal law that says Sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States”;
- said that “Republicans’ disrespectful approach to broadening extremism is contrary to American values and actually threatens national security”;
- cautioned that “national security policy must not unfairly target or single out any one community and place [incomprehensible] techniques that focus on racial profiling”;
- said “it is irresponsible to target Muslim community [sic] and hold them accountable for the violent acts of a few”;
- maintained that “individuals from many different communities of faith have used religion and political ideology to justify violence,” including “the Klu [sic] Klux Klan, the Oklahoma City bombings, James Von Bruin’s [sic] violent shootings at the Holocaust Museum, bombings at Planned Parenthood clinics, and domestic military militias”;
- claimed that the Muslim Public Affairs Council had recently provided “evidence” that “clearly indicates a general rise in violent extremism across all ideologies,” thus “it doesn’t make sense for Federal and local law enforcement officials to racially profile or treat Muslim Americans unfairly”;
- stated that “any legislation that sets out a particular religious group for discrimination in [incomprehensible] violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States”; and
- said that “anti-Sharia laws” are “motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry, plain and simple.”
Supporter of Black Lives Matter
Supporter of the Iran Nuclear Deal
In November 2016, Waters spoke out in support of the nuclear agreement which the Obama administration and the leaders of five other nations had negotiated with Iran a year earlier. The congresswoman called it “a deal that, so far, has delivered on its principal goal of blocking Iran’s path to nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future.” Asserting that “there is no other reasonable approach to curbing Iran’s nuclear ambition short of military intervention,” Waters declared that “Democrats … will not tolerate any attempt to undermine the Iran nuclear deal or any of our other international arrangements that keep us safe.”
Waters’s Immense Wealth and Hypocrisy
On June 24, 2017, Waters held a town hall meeting at the Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena, California, and did not permit anyone who lived outside of Waters’s 43rd Congressional District to be admitted inside the facility; such individuals were instead relegated to an outdoor “overflow space.” In light of these facts, it is worth noting that Waters herself does not reside in her own 43rd Congressional District, which is one of the poorest districts in the state of California. She owns a $4.8 million mansion in the upscale Hancock Park section of Los Angeles, several miles outside of her District.
Waters Does Not Rule Out the Possibility of Someday Backing an All-Black Political Party
In an August 7, 2017 interview on The Breakfast Club radio program, Waters was asked if she thought it was time for black people to form their own political party. “No, not at this point,” she replied. “You have to show that you’re willing and you’re able to put the numbers together and exercise your influence. We still are not voting our influence yet. What we should do is organize our power, exercise our power, particularly in the Democratic Party because that’s where most of us are.” Waters then suggested that when black people are “strong enough” and are participating more fully in politics, “then you can raise that kind of question – whether we are strong enough to talk about organizing another party.”
Waters Calls Housing “A Human Right”
At at a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversight hearing on October 12, 2017, Waters said: “Housing is the foundation on which our entire society is built. It is a platform for economic mobility and well-being. It is a crucial part of our national economy. It is a necessary human right.”
Waters Lauds John Conyers As a Champion for Women
In a late October 2017 keynote address to the Women’s Convention Sojourner Truth Luncheon in Detroit, during which Waters issued scathing condemnations of “rape culture” and President Trump, she singled out Democratic Rep. John Conyers as a stalwart champion for women’s rights. Said Waters: “You know, there is a member of Congress who has been supportive of women for many, many, many years. He is quiet, he is confident, he is powerful, but he has impeccable integrity on all of our issues. Give John Conyers a big round of applause.” The congresswoman also lamented the “record number of women who are boldly coming forward to reveal disturbing and grotesque acts of sexual harassment, assault and rape, often times at the hands of men who believed they were too rich and too powerful to ever be confronted or held accountable.”
Scarcely three weeks later, Politico.com reported on the following explosive revelations: “Buzzfeed [has] reported … that Conyers ‘repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sexual favors, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Conyers reportedly ‘used congressional resources to fly in women they believed he was having affairs with,’ according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed. Another Conyers aide ‘said she was tasked with driving women to and from Conyers’ apartment and hotel rooms.’ Conyers allegedly paid $27,000 in public funds to a female employee who contacted the secretive Office of Compliance with allegations about the Michigan Democrat.” After additional women subsequently came forward with accusations against Conyers, the congressman announced his retirement from the House of Representatives.
Waters Vows to Punish Wall Street
During a November 2018 speech, Waters, who was slated to become chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee in January 2019, said the following: “The CEOs of the banks now are saying, ‘What can we do to stop Maxine Waters because if she gets in she’s going to give us a bad time?’ I have not forgotten that you undermined our communities [allegedly causing the 2008 financial crisis]. I have not forgotten that you sold us those exotic products, had us sign on the dotted line for junk. What I am going to do to you is fair. I’m going to do to you what you did to us.”
Defending Jussie Smollett & His Fake Hate Crime
In February 2019, Jussie Smollett, a black homosexual television actor, was indicted for having paid two Nigerian-American brothers to stage a fake hate crime assault against him and filing a false police report which claimed that his attackers were two white men who supported President Donald Trump. On March 26, 2019 — thanks to intervention by Chicago attorney Tina Tchen, who had previously served as chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama — Smollett’s defense team reached a deal with prosecutors in which all charges were dropped in return for Smollett agreeing to perform two days of community service and to forfeit his $10,000 bond. For a timeline of the major events in this case, click here.
Waters reacted to Smollett’s settlement as follows: “It’s the correct thing that the charges were dropped. First of all, we probably will never know all of the details. We’ve heard a lot of information. No one was hurt — that is, physically, killed, shot — he never committed a crime before, he forfeited the bail and it’s this kind of situation where they close the case all over the country every day. I have learned this isn’t unusual.” Waters also praised Smollett as “an extremely talented man who people have come to love because he is on TV,” and added: “I’m hopeful that he will go on with his career and be successful.”
Waters Shows Willingness to Collude with Russians Who She Believes Possess Compromising Information on President Trump
In early January 2020, a pair of Russian YouTubers named Vladimir Kuznetzov and Alexey Stolyarov — both of whom had ties to the Kremlin — made a prank phone call to Waters in which one of them pretended to be the father of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, TIME‘s 2019 “Person of the Year,” while a female colleague pretended to be Miss Thunberg herself.
At one point in the conversation, Waters told “Greta”: “Of course, I know all about you. You have made quite a big, big, big thunder on this [climate change] issue. I am really, really very proud of you and the work that you’re doing.” The prank callers then tricked Waters into making a statement in defense of the environment of “Chunga Changa,” a nonexistent island.
Later, “Greta” told Waters that she had recently met Trump at the United Nations, where he privately insulted her and confessed to having made U.S. aid to Ukraine contingent upon the Ukrainian president agreeing to investigate Trump’s political rivals — i.e., precisely the charges in the articles of impeachment that House Democrats had recently passed. Said the young woman: “He came over, he leaned towards me, and said softly, ‘Listen to me very carefully, little girl, you will never achieve your goals.’” “He said you will never achieve your goals? Oh my goodness!” Waters said in response. After “Greta” then said that Trump had made her cry, Waters asked: “Oh my God did you cry?”
The male caller then told Waters: “He [Trump] said to her, ‘You know, little girl, nobody believe you anyway, I will tell you the truth. I really pushed on Ukrainian president and you know that you will never achieve your goals like those congressional fools that accuse me.” “Oh my God, he mentioned the Ukrainian president?” Waters exclaimed in response.
Waters then pressed the callers to say more about whatever else Trump may have said to them. They told the congresswoman that they had a tape recording of the conversation between Trump and “Greta.” At that point, Waters asked if they planned to be in Washington, D.C., anytime soon and if they could meet with her.
“Greta’s” father then told Waters that his “daughter” would be willing to testify before Congress if Waters wanted her to. Waters replied: “Oh yes, I am absolutely still working — we are working very hard, we’re putting together the facts, and we’re going after him. We are going to try everything that we have to impeach him. And if the public knew that he talked to Greta like that, he made her cry, and told her she would never achieve — this will go against him, too.” “You bring it to me,” Waters said of the recording. “You tell me what day you can get there. And we’ll arrange to meet with you as quickly as we can.”
To listen to the entire phone conversation, click here.
Waters Says the Word “Rioting” Is an Example of “Negative Language … Used Against Black People”
In the aftermath of the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd — a black man who had died after being abused by a white police officer in Minneapolis — a number of U.S. cities were overrun by violent riots. In an interview published in The Cut on June 3, Waters spoke about her “longtime fight over the language of insurrection and unrest versus rioting,” saying:
“A lot of negative language gets used against black people, describing what whites often believe is true about us: that language includes ‘lazy,’ ‘criminal,’ and ‘rioting.’ It’s all negative language used far too often in a description of black people by folks who fundamentally don’t see black people the same way they see whites and others. So when they talked about rioting in 1992, what I saw was an explosion of a hopelessness being played out. I’d been working with those children in public housing and understood what was going on with crack cocaine, that these communities had been dropped off of America’s agenda, and the only real interaction they had was with police: the use of a battering ram to break down a door, as [Los Angeles Police Chief] Daryl Gates did, or stopping young black men on the street to have them spread their legs to be searched by police. So when this unfortunate situation happened, where we had a lot of these young people in the street, they were acting out in anger and frustration. It reminded me of much of which I saw this past weekend, with people who had been cooped up because of COVID-19, who have lost jobs, whose family members have been getting infected, and then you have this police officer put his knee on the neck of George Floyd and hold it for eight minutes-plus, while his life drained out on the sidewalk … that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. So yes, I said ‘insurrection’: People acting out of frustration and hopelessness and understanding that they don’t have an establishment — political or otherwise — that really cared about their ability to work or have good health care. Yes, I choose to call it an insurrection.”
For an overview of Waters’ congressional voting record on a number of key issues over the course of her political career, click here.
- “Maxine Waters: Straight Talk from South Central,” Ladies’ Home Journal (August 1992), p. 112.
- Notably, Damian Williams was released from prison a few years later and subsequently committed murder in 2000, a crime for which he was sentenced to 51 years in prison.
Maxine Waters’ Voting Record
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Maxine Waters: Swamp Queen
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August 4, 2010
Maxine Waters: Banking on Hypocrisy
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March 13, 2009
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