California’s Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, the first woman and first African American chair of the House Financial Services Committee, was forced to put a Trump administration official in his place after complaints about how long a hearing was running.
Democrats on the committee grilled Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for more than three hours on Tuesday on topics that included how he was planning to respond to their request for access to Trump’s tax returns.
He interrupted the hearing to remind the committee of a prior engagement and that he would need to leave by 5 p.m. Mnuchin said an important foreign dignitary was waiting to meet with him. In a condescending voice, the secretary told Waters that it was time to end the hearing.
The exchange became heated when Waters declined to formally dismiss the meeting. “This is a new way, and it’s a new day,” she said while looking sternly into Mnuchin’s eyes. “And it’s a new chair, and I have the gavel at this point.”
Mnuchin threatened to never return voluntarily before Waters’ committee because he said other treasury secretaries were never treated that way by previous chairs.
The congresswoman set him straight: “No other secretary has told us the day before that they were going to limit their time in the way that you’re doing. If you want to use them as examples, you have acted differently than they have acted.”
Waters told Mnuchin that he was free to leave but didn’t formally dismiss the hearing. Then he told her that she was supposed to bang the gavel if the hearing is finished.
“Please don’t instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee,” Waters shot back with fire in her eyes.
Here’s a video clip.
Black women of power have long been the targets of disrespect, especially by Trump and members of his administration. The president has frequently attacked Waters, at one point calling the congresswoman “an extraordinarily low IQ person.”
Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly took aim at Florida’s Rep. Frederica Wilson in 2017 over a dispute between the congresswoman and Trump about Trump’s mistreatment of Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow Myeshia Johnson. Kelly lied about Wilson falsely taking credit for obtaining funding for construction of a new federal building in her state. He refused to apologize after Wilson was vindicated in a Sun-Sentinel report.