Top Democrats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are under fire for their lack of support for Rep. Maxine Waters, who spoke “truth to power in challenging the Trump Administration to do the right thing by ending a ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy,” according to more than 150 Black women leaders.
The women, who include political and religious officials, academics and activists, such as Donna Brazile and Tamika Mallory, along with some allies, penned a letter on Tuesday criticizing the actions of Pelosi and Schumer.
“For Black women, who are the most loyal base of the Democratic Party and the Progressive Movement, Congresswoman Waters is our shero,” the letter states.
“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.”
Pelosi and Schumer reprimanded Waters, without specifically calling her out by name, for telling supporters to publicly question Trump officials.
Schumer denounced calls to confront Trump officials as “not American,” while Pelosi said in a tweet that it was “understandable but unacceptable.”
Last week, Waters, one of the longest serving Black women, and the longest tenured woman of color, in Congress, received death threats so serious she had to cancel planned public events.
The threats came the same week Trump warned Waters in a tweet to “be careful” along with repeatedly saying she has a low IQ.
In the letter, the women made clear the “recent failure to protect Congresswoman Waters from unwarranted attacks 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.”
The “zero tolerance” policy affects families seeking asylum from violence in their home countries that are held in detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border. The policy has separated over 2,000 children from their families, prior to Trump last month ending family separations, which his administration initiated.
Waters’ supporters also let Pelosi and Schumer know that Black women would remember how the Democratic Party treated her.
“Disparaging or failing to support Congresswoman Waters is an affront to her and Black women across the country and telegraphs a message that the Democratic Party can ill afford: that it does not respect Black women’s leadership and political power and discounts the impact of Black women and millennial voters.”
“We call on the Democratic Party leadership to step up and publicly support Congresswoman Waters.”
According to Politico, Pelosi said in a statement released on Wednesday: “Congresswoman Maxine Waters is a valued leader whose passionate call for family reunification should be heard without any threats to her safety.
“Donald Trump has sullied the bully pulpit with reckless disregard for the safety of others … He should stop his attacks on Congresswoman Waters and all Members of Congress, the free press, and all Americans who have the right and the responsibility to speak their minds.”