House Speaker Paul Ryan blasted Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters on Tuesday, saying she should apologize for calling on those who opposed the Trump administration’s policy, that has resulted in family separation, to “harass” members of the administration in public.
“There is no place for this,” Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said a news conference. “She obviously should apologize.”
He said the comments are “dangerous” for society.
“When we, in this democracy, are suggesting that because we disagree with people on political views, on policy views, on philosophical views, that we should resort to violence and harassment and intimidation that’s dangerous for our society, dangerous for our democracy, and she should apologize and there’s just no place for that in our public discourse,” Ryan said.
Over the weekend, Waters called on her supporters to publicly confront and harass members of the Trump administration in response to the “zero-tolerance” policy that led to the separation of families at the border.
“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up,” Waters said at the Wilshire Federal Building, according to video of the event. “And 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. We’ve got to get the children connected to their parents.”
Later that day, she told MSNBC, “The people are going to turn on them. They’re going to protest. They’re going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the President, ‘No, I can’t hang with you.’”
Waters told reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday that she was not calling for violence against anyone and said she was advocating “very peaceful protests.”
Her comments drew condemnation from Republicans and some Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don’t agree with you,” the New York senator said during a floor speech. “If you disagree with a politician, organize your fellow citizens to action and vote them out of office. But no one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right. That’s not American.”
CNN’s Ted Barrett, Ashley Killough and Jamie Ehrlich contributed to this report.