Kevin McCarthy moves to censure Maxine Waters over Chauvin trial comments

Maxine Waters.
(Image credit: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) moved to censure Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Tuesday in response to comments she made about the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The House is expected to vote on the resolution later in the afternoon.

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Last week, Waters joined protesters in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, for a demonstration related mainly to the recent police shooting of Daunte Wright, though George Floyd's death and the Chauvin trial served as an undercurrent. While there, the congresswoman said that if Chauvin was acquitted, demonstrators should "stay on the street" and "get more confrontational" so "they know we mean business."

Her words didn't sit well with Republican lawmakers, who saw it as inciting violence. Additionally, Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the Chauvin trial, suggested to Chauvin's defense attorneys that her remarks could be grounds for an appeal.

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The situation escalated a bit on Tuesday, with Democratic and Republican lawmakers going back-and-forth. At one point, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told reporters that McCarthy should "sit this one out" and "clean up [his] own mess," referring to some of the more controversial or scandal-ridden figures in the House GOP, including Reps. Laura Boebert (R-Colo.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

McCarthy clearly didn't heed Jeffries' advice, but Democrats, who hold a slim majority, are reportedly confident they'll kill the censure. CNN's Manu Raju reports that one of their main arguments is that Republican lawmakers, like Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who many considered to have played a role in riling up the pro-Trump mob that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, weren't censured for their remarks, making it unfair to single out Waters.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.