White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Biden believes “protests must be peaceful” in response to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., calling for demonstrators to ramp up their actions in the event that Derek Chauvin is acquitted of murder for the death of George Floyd.
In controversial comments over the weekend, Waters said protesters in Minnesota should “stay on the street and get more active, more confrontational.” When asked if Biden agrees with this, 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.
“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.”
Republicans condemned Waters for her remarks.
“Telling rioters who have burned buildings, looted stores and assaulted journalists to get ‘more confrontational’ is incredibly irresponsible. Every House Democrat should condemn Maxine Waters’ call for violence,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Berg told Fox News.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., even announced a resolution calling for Waters’ expulsion from Congress.
Waters was in Minnesota over the weekend and said she plans on staying through Monday as closing arguments in Chauvin’s trial are being presented. She told MSNBC she is there “to give support to our young people who are struggling and trying to make this justice system work for everybody” and “to be there as Auntie Maxine to show them, not only do I love them and support them, but they can count on me to be with them at this terrible time in all of our lives.”
Fox News’ Evie Fordham, Yael Halon and Brie Stimson contributed to this report.