Schumer: 'I Understand' the Outrage but Harassing Political Opponents 'Not American'

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he’s “felt those emotions” that call for fighting fire with fire by confronting members of the Trump team, but said he “strongly” advocates Democrats not take Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-Calif.) advice.

“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. 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,” Waters said at a rally in Los Angeles on Saturday, after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was kicked out of a Lexington, Va., restaurant Friday night.

“You tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” Waters added.

President Trump tweeted in response, “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!”

Citing a story on Waters’ comments, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted, “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.”

Schumer didn’t mention Waters by name in his floor remarks.

“I strongly disagree with those who advocate harassing folks if they don’t agree with you. If you disagree with something or someone, stand up, make your voice heard. Explain why you think they’re wrong and why you’re right. Make the argument. Protest peacefully,” he said. “If you disagree with a politician, organize your fellow citizens to action and vote them out of office. But no one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right. That’s not American.”

“Now, I understand those who look at the conduct of this president, a man who habitually engages in bullying, name-calling, slander and nastiness for its own sake, and think: we have to fight fire with fire. I know. I’ve felt those emotions myself. I think we all do. I understand those who are outraged at the hypocrisy of this president when he complains about bullying, harassment, and nastiness when it’s used against him or his allies, and he uses as a regular tool almost every day. I am outraged by that hypocrisy, the double-standard that we seem to let this president get away with,” Schumer added. “But the president’s tactics and behavior should never be emulated, they should be repudiated – by organized, well-informed, and passionate advocacy.”