Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise said Monday that California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters' "dangerous rhetoric" is the same kind of language that led to a dangerous shooting at a 2017 GOP congressional baseball practice.
Scalise and at least five other victims were treated for gunshot wounds following what appeared to be a targeted attack on Republican lawmakers and their aides.
What happened in that shooting?
Scalise was nearly killed in a hail of gunfire when accused gunman James Hodgkinson opened fire on the practice. Hodgkinson was fatally shot by police during the attack.
Hodgkinson previously expressed extreme opposition toward the Republican Party and former President Donald Trump before opening fire on the GOP baseball practice.
From a 2017 NPR report:
The alleged shooter expressed fervent opposition to the Republican Party and called for higher taxes on the rich, in statements on social media and letters to a local newspaper. He apparently volunteered for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to the Vermont senator, who condemned the attack.
And what did Waters say?
During a weekend appearance in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Waters addressed the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who faces murder charges in the May death of George Floyd.
Waters insisted that people should "stay on the street" if the jury doesn't deliver a verdict to convict Chauvin on the related murder charges.
"[W]e've got to get more active," she told activists and demonstrators at the time. "[We've] got to get more confrontational. [We've] got to make sure that they know we mean business."
What's Scalise saying now?
Scalise argued that Waters' remarks were dangerously inflammatory.
On Twitter, the Louisiana Republican wrote, “Let's be clear: Maxine Waters knew her rhetoric would incite violence in Minneapolis — but she doesn't care, she just requests police escorts for herself. I was shot because of this kind of dangerous rhetoric. Where is the outrage from Dems & the media? They need to condemn this."
Let's be clear: Maxine Waters knew her rhetoric would incite violence in Minneapolis—but she doesn't care, she just… https://t.co/4RTCqyOXqE— Steve Scalise (@Steve Scalise)1618872278.0
It isn't the first time Scalise has called out dangerous rhetoric from the left.
In 2018, the congressman implored liberals and Democrats to speak up and tamp down inflammatory speech following further threats to his life.
"You look at some of the liberal rhetoric that's coming out from the left. They're encouraging and inciting — in many cases — violence. And it's got to stop," Scalise warned at the time. "In fact, liberals need to call this out. They need to speak up, just as we're speaking up saying is there's no place for it on the Republican or Democrat side. I think people on the left need to be as vocal about calling out this kind of violence."
What are the leaders in Congress saying?
Calls to censure Waters for her remarks came from both the left and right, and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) vowed to bring action against her if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not.
For her part, Pelosi defended Waters' remarks, and said, "Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the civil rights movement. I myself think we should take our lead from the George Floyd family. They've handled this with great dignity and no ambiguity or lack of misinterpretation by the other side."
Pelosi also added that Waters should not have to apologize for the remarks.
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denounced Waters' speech and said that she was "trying to tilt the scales of justice with threats."
“Every single American deserves a fair trial," McConnell said. “This is sacred. You do not balance the scales of justice by trying to tip them."
Targeting Waters directly, McConnell added, “And yet, this past weekend, one Democratic House member from California took it upon herself to visit the protesters in Minneapolis. She said, 'We're looking for a guilty verdict.' Like somebody window-shopping or ordering off a menu, she's looking for a guilty verdict. If that verdict is not reached, the Congresswoman said demonstrators should not only 'stay in the streets,' 'We've gotta get more active and confrontational and make sure they know we mean business.'"
“It's harder to imagine anything more inappropriate than a member of Congress flying in from California to inform local leaders — not so subtly — that this defendant had better be found guilty or else there will be big trouble in the streets," McConnell added. “Again, so much of our nation's quest for civil rights and equal justice has been the fight to get rid — get rid — of extrajudicial violence. To get rid of rigged trials where the outcome was molded by public sentiment or angry mobs. It is beyond the pale for a sitting member of the United States Congress to look at what happened last summer and imply there should be some kind of a sequel — a sequel! — if a legal case does not unfold as she thinks it should."
Mitch McConnell SLAMS Maxine Waters over comments on trial of Derek Chauvin www.youtube.com