Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said Sunday that she was "surprised" by criticism from Democratic leaders over her statement that people should "push back" against members of the Trump administration over its immigration policy.
"One of the things I recognize, being an elected official, is in the final analysis, leadership ... will do anything that they think is necessary to protect their leadership and so what I have to do is not focus on them," Waters told MSNBC.
Waters attracted criticism from Republicans last weekend after she told rally-goers in her Los Angeles congressional district that members of the public should confront members of the Trump administration and "tell them they're not welcome." Waters made the remarks after White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen left a different restaurant after protesters began shouting at her.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi distanced herself from Waters' remarks after they were made public, while Senate Democratic Leader took to the Senate floor to say that harassment of political opponents was "not right" and "not American."
Waters claimed she was "surprised" that Schumer had criticized a member of the House of Representatives, saying that she had "not quite seen that done before."
The comments did not go unnoticed by President Trump, who tweeted last week that Waters should "be careful what you wish for." On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Waters should apologize.
Waters told MSNBC that she had received "several" death threats and that one person had been arrested in connection with those threats.
"I was blessed with courage. And I was blessed with the kind of strength that does not allow me to be intimidated by the likes of Donald Trump," Waters said. "Let him call me whatever he wants to call me. Let him say whatever he wants to say. He will not stop me."