Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) warned members of Donald Trump’s Cabinet to be prepared for a slew of outraged heckling and public shaming on the streets and in restaurants and stores if they continue to support the president’s controversial zero tolerance policy on undocumented immigrants.
“You think we’re rallying now? You ain’t seen nothing yet,” she vowed at an enthusiastic Los Angeles rally Saturday. “Already you have members of your Cabinet that are being booed out of restaurants ... protesters taking up at their house saying ‘no peace, no sleep.’”
Waters repeated her warning on MSNBC Sunday, two days after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant. Restaurant owner Stephanie Wilkinson told The Washington Post she explained to Sanders that the business has “certain standards” to uphold, “such as honesty and compassion.” Last Tuesday the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, was hounded out of a Mexican restaurant in Washington by protesters. On Friday, demonstrators loudly played an audio tape from an immigrant detention center of crying children who had been separated from their parents.
The confrontations mark a new level of American protest in the wake of heartbreaking photos of young children separated from their parents. Though Trump signed an executive order last week reversing his own policy of separating children, thousands of immigrant families are expected to be detained in tent cities.
“I have no sympathy for these people that are in this administration who know it is wrong what they’re doing ... but they tend to not want to confront this president,” Waters said on MSNBC.
Cabinet members who defend him are “not going to be able to go to a restaurant, stop at a gas station, shop at a department store. 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 ... this is wrong, this is unconscionable; we can’t keep doing this to children.’”
Waters called on protesters in Los Angeles to keep the pressure up.
“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up,” she urged. “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.”
History is “not going to be kind to this administration,” she said. “We want history to record that we stood up, that we pushed back, that we fought and that we did not consider ourselves victims of this president,” she added.
On Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rebuked Waters’ comments in a tweet, noting that “Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable.”
This story has been updated with a tweet from Pelosi.