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President Donald Trump attacked Rep. Maxine Waters' intelligence on Thursday at a rally. Waters has encouraged Americans to protest against the Trump adminisitration's immigration policies. (Photo: AFGE/Flickr/cc)

Black Leaders Express "Profound Indignation" Over Schumer and Pelosi's Failure to Defend Maxine Waters From Trump Attacks

"We call on the Democratic Party leadership to step up and publicly support Congresswoman Waters, who has been receiving death threats for speaking truthfully and boldly in support of immigrant families and challenging the Trump administration to end their inhumane and immoral policy."

Julia Conley

More than 200 black leaders denounced Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) this week for failing to come to the defense of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) amid President Donald Trump's attacks on the 14-term congresswoman—attacks which continued Thursday night at the president's rally in Great Falls, Montana.

"We call on the Democratic Party leadership to step up and publicly support Congresswoman Waters, who has been receiving death threats for speaking truthfully and boldly in support of immigrant families and challenging the Trump administration to end their inhumane and immoral policy that has yet to reunite over 2,000 children with their parents and continues to lock up refugees seeking asylum in the United States of America," wrote the mostly female signers of a letter sent to the Democratic leaders.

Signers of the letter (pdf) included faith leaders, social justice advocates, community organizers, and business owners.

At a campaign-style rally in Montana on Thursday night, Trump repeated his claim that Waters is a "low-IQ individual," telling his supporters that Waters had an IQ "somewhere in the mid 60s."

In addition to being a leading voice calling for Trump's impeachment, Waters has also urged more public protest against the administration and encouraged more people to follow the example of those in recent weeks who have directly confronted Trump officials and Republican leaders in public over the child detention and family separation policies.

Waters received threatening mail and was forced to cancel two events after making her comments late last month, after Trump posted an ominous tweet reading, "Be careful what you wish for, Max!"

Schumer criticized Waters for suggesting Americans should speak directly to public servants about their policies, calling direct confrontations with Trump officials "not American," while Pelosi suggested in a tweet that Waters' remarks were "unacceptable."

"We write to share our profound indignation and deep disappointment over your recent failure to protect Congresswoman Waters from unwarranted attacks from the Trump administration and others in the GOP," reads the letter. "That failure was further compounded by your decision to unfairly deride her as being 'uncivil' and 'un-American.' In doing so, we believe this mischaracterizes her call to action for peaceful democratic assembly and the exercise of her constitutional rights to free speech in support of defenseless immigrant children and their families."

In the wake of the letter sent earlier in the week, and following Trump's remarks in Montana, Pelosi on Thursday night tweeted that the president should stop "making despicable attacks" on the congresswoman.


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