Pelosi says Waters shouldn't apologize for 'confrontational' remark, claims she wasn't inciting violence
Waters took criticism for saying demonstrators should 'stay on the street and get more active' if Derek Chauvin is not convicted
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended Rep. Maxine Waters urging protesters to "get more confrontational" over the weekend in the event that Derek Chauvin is acquitted of murder for the death of George Floyd, saying the Democratic congresswoman does not need to apologize.
Over the weekend, Waters, D-Calif., said protesters in Minnesota should "stay on the street and get more active."
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Pelosi, D-Calif., was asked Monday whether Waters should apologize for making the remarks.
"No, she doesn't," Pelosi 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," Pelosi continued. "They've handled this with great dignity, and no ambiguity or lack of — misinterpretation by the other side."
She added: "No, I don't think she should apologize."
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When pressed further on whether the speaker felt that Waters’ comments could incite violence, Pelosi replied: "No, absolutely not."
Waters visited an anti-police brutality protest in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Saturday evening, saying demonstrators needed to "stay on the street," demanding justice until police reform becomes a reality.
"I’m going to fight with all of the people who stand for justice," Waters told reporters shortly before an 11 p.m. curfew. "We’ve got to get justice in this country, and we cannot allow these killings to continue."
Asked about the Chauvin murder trial in Minneapolis, Waters told reporters if the former police officer isn't found guilty of murdering George Floyd, "We've got to stay on the street and we've got to get more active, we've got to get more confrontational. We've got to make sure that they know that we mean business."
Waters said she was "hopeful" Chauvin would be convicted of murder, but if he isn't, "we cannot go away."
Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter for Floyd's death, after a confrontation where Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes. Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson is presenting the defense that Floyd's death may have been the result of other factors, such as a heart condition or drugs.
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Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday was also asked about Waters’ comments, saying that President Biden believes "protests must be peaceful."
When asked if Biden agreed with Waters, Psaki did not directly answer, but she made clear that while the president is very much in favor of protesting in general, he opposes violence.
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"His view is … that exercising First Amendment rights and protesting injustice is the most American thing that anyone can do," Psaki said during Monday’s press briefing. "But as he also always says, protests must be peaceful, that’s what he continues to call for and what he continues to believe is the right way to approach responding."
Fox News' Kelly Phares, Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.