President Trump on Monday accused Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of advocating “harm” against his supporters, after she called over the weekend for protesters to confront Cabinet members wherever they see them in public.
“Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!” Trump tweeted.
The president’s tweet comes after Waters, D-Calif., urged her supporters to accost Trump administration officials.
“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,” Waters said, later telling MSNBC that protesters are “going to absolutely harass them.”
Despite Trump's attempt to link Waters to Pelosi, the House Democratic leader seemed to distance herself from her California colleague's remarks, calling for "unity" on Twitter.
"In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea," Pelosi tweeted.
Waters’ comments follow several incidents where Trump administration officials were confronted at or kicked out of restaurants amid last week's backlash over family separations at the border.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave Lexington, Va., restaurant The Red Hen on Friday. Sanders confirmed she was told to leave by the owner because she worked for the president.
Earlier last week, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted at a Mexican restaurant by left-wing activists protesting family separations.
President Trump sought to address the controversy last week when he signed an executive order ending the practice of separating illegal immigrant families caught crossing the border. But the backlash has persisted, with protesters calling on the administration to curb detentions and more.
But the threats of more confrontation have raised security concerns and questions over whether a line is being crossed—separating legitimate political protest from outright harassment.
Waters’ comments drew a strong rebuke from Republican lawmakers amid fears that the protests might escalate. A spokesman for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was injured in the shooting at a congressional baseball practice just over a year ago, warned about the dangers of overheated rhetoric and protests.
“Whip Scalise knows firsthand the dangerous consequences that can result from making political differences personal and vitriolic,” spokeswoman Lauren Fine said in a statement. “We are lucky to live in a country where we have the right to freely debate our differences civilly. Harassment is never an acceptable method of disagreement.”
On Saturday, Florida Attorney General – and ardent Trump supporter – Pam Bondi was confronted by a group of protesters outside the screening of a documentary about Mister Rogers in Tampa. A video of the confrontation shows the Florida AG leaving the theater as several people yell at her, with one woman seen shouting at her about Bondi’s recent actions on health care policy and her stance on immigration.
But Bondi told “Fox & Friends” on Monday that the harassment began as she waited in line for tickets and continued inside the theater.
“If [Waters] wants people to protest that’s one thing, but they are trying to start a fight,” Bondi said. “I’m not going to change my life, that’s what they want.”
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.