When asked Monday about Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) recent statements calling for more unrest, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki seemed to skirt around the question and refused to condemn Waters’ remarks.
Waters, when discussing the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd called for activists to “fight for justice” and telling protestors, “You’ve got to get more confrontational. You’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.” Waters made the statement while defying the emergency curfew order in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota during a night of civil unrest.
Protests and riots have been occurring in Minnesota since the April 11 death of Daunte Wright who was shot by police while attempting to flee. Daunte Wright was pulled over for an expired registration tag and it was discovered that he had several warrants for his arrest. While police officers were attempting to arrest him Wright struggled with officers and was attempting to flee in his car when he was shot by former officer Kim Potter who claims she mistook her firearm for her taser. Wright died shortly after and former officer Potter subsequently resigned and was charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Waters’ comments come at a time when authorities in Minnesota are struggling to maintain public order following multiple nights of riots and arson in the area. The night of Waters’ comments, two national guardsmen who were on crowd control duty in the area were shot in an apparent drive-by shooting.
Psaki has previously been criticized for refusing to condemn Antifa in a similar incident in January where she avoided the question by pivoting to discuss “all violence happening around the country.” This follows a similar trend in the Democratic party of refusing to condemn far-left extremism including Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) when asked to condemn riots in Portland he called Antifa "a myth”.