Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) has sparred with President Donald Trump on more than one occasion, and their already adversarial relationship is certain to become even more heated now that Waters has referred to Trump as "Putin's apprentice."
Waters made the comment in an interview with MSNBC’s AM Joy. During the same interview, Waters suggested that Republicans should do more to curb the president's notoriously impulsive nature. She also took Trump to task for his decision to side with Russian leader Vladimir Putin over the assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia orchestrated cyberattacks against the 2016 presidential election.
I’m not surprised about what happened in Helsinki. I’m not surprised about the private meeting. I’m not surprised about this president standing up for Putin. As a matter of fact, I think he is Putin’s apprentice. He’s been under his tutelage for a long time now, and he intends to get it done and the American people are standing idly by. And the Republican Party should be ashamed that they are allowing it to happen.
They have no courage. They’re not standing up for America. I dare them to talk about how patriotic they are given what they are allowing this president to do.
The praise that Trump has continued to lavish on Putin is of increasing concern given what we know of Putin's involvement in the presidential election, and accusations that Trump is "Putin's puppet" have dogged him ever since. Having now referred to Trump as "Putin's apprentice," Waters found that this nickname for the president was well received.
The relationship between Trump and Waters came to a head last month after the president accused Waters of advocating “harm” against his supporters in an incendiary tweet last month.
“Be careful what you wish for Max!” the president said, while in the same breath blasting Waters, the most senior of the 12 black women currently serving in the United States Congress, as “an extraordinarily low IQ person.”
But Waters did not call for physical harm. In fact, she called for civil disobedience.
Waters’ comments were posted to Twitter on by Ryan Saavedra, a reporter with conservative news and opinion website The Daily Wire, which has in the past come under fire for sharing stories that are unverified or that have been taken out of context.
“If you think we’re rallying now you ain’t seen nothing yet,” Waters told supporters at a rally in Los Angeles last month. “If you see anybody from that [Trump] 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, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
Many interpreted the president's tweet as a threat against Waters, whose rather pointed remarks were a response to a couple of different news reports of Trump administration officials who had trouble dining out peacefully, including White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said she had been asked to leave Red Hen, a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia because she works for the Trump administration. (The restaurant’s co-owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, later told The Washington Post that Sanders works as a mouthpiece for an “inhumane and unethical” administration.)