If it wasn’t resoundingly clear that Maxine Waters absolutely needs Secret Service protection following the president’s veiled threat of physical violence against her, it should be after a deadly shooting at a Maryland newspaper on Thursday underscored how the public can interpret words from people in positions of power.
While a motive for the shooting wasn’t immediately clear, right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos made a public plea just days earlier for “vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.” Yiannopoulos, who is ironically a former journalist, got his wish, and then some, when a gunman seemingly followed his directions and killed at least five people at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis.
If someone with considerably less clout and pull than, say, the president, could generate that type of deadly response to his words, imagine how one of Trump’s rabid followers could interpret his perhaps fateful words to Waters: “Be careful what you wish for Max!”
Waters, gleefully reacting to news that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant because she works for a divisive, racist and homophobic administration, implored her followers to have similar reactions when they see Trump’s minions in public.
Meanwhile, Secret Service was assigned to Sanders following Waters’ harmless words.
That was despite the owner of the restaurant who asked Sanders to leave posted a racist message telling Waters to “go back to Africa.”
In addition, Waters was all but stalked on a plane late last year by a White supremacist Holocaust denier who took a creepy photo of her while she was sleeping.
It was not clear if Waters has any type of personal protection. But what was clear was that even after a man was made death threats to Waters; even after Trump seemed to call for harm to come her way, Waters still had no government-supplied protection.
Waters went ahead on Thursday and canceled at least two public appearances because of “one very serious death threat,” CNN reported. CNN’s article made no reference to her having any Secret Service protection.
The California congresswoman issued a brief statement speaking about the threat:
“As the President has continued to lie and falsely claim that I encouraged people to assault his supporters, while also offering a veiled threat that I should ‘be careful’, even more individuals are leaving (threatening) messages and sending hostile mail to my office.”
The number of members of congress who can receive Secret Service protections was limited to just a few: “Only a small number of members in leadership positions receive full-time protective details from the Capitol Police, including the House Speaker, House and Senate Majority and Minority Leader, and House and Senate whips,” according to NBC News. “Rank-and-file members sometimes receive added protection in response to specific concerns.
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