Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) on Thursday pulled no punches while discussing members of Donald Trump’s cabinet, taking particular aim at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom she unequivocally called “a racist.”
Waters was speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference about her role in taking on the Trump administration. Asked to respond to concerns Sessions is “even more dangerous than the person in the White House,” Waters replied, “Well, you’re absolutely correct.”
“You’re absolutely right about Jeff Sessions,” Waters continued. “First of all he’s a racist. He’s a throwback. He has defined himself throughout his career. And so the President of the United States appointed him to one of the most important offices in all of government to become the attorney general with the power that he holds to do the damage that he set out to do.”
Waters noted Sessions’ archaic position on mandatory minimum sentences, arguing similar policies “have sent so many of our people to prison, young people, small amounts of drugs, crack cocaine, who ended up with long terms in prison.” She also pointed to the attorney general’s past claims that the NAACP and ACLU are “communist organizations,” as well as his assertion that the federal government shouldn’t interfere in local police jurisdictions where questions arise regarding equal justice under the law.
“And then there’s affirmative action,” Waters said. “He is saying that white people are the victims of affirmative action. He has moved aggressively on all of these areas, mandatory minimums, voting rights, consent decrees, affirmative actions.”
“Let me tell you one of the reasons we have not been able to really fight for affirmative action,” she continued. “To me, black people were ashamed of affirmative action and they would say to you know, ‘I got in on my own. I didn’t benefit from affirmative action. I was smart enough.’”
“Come on people, you know?” Waters exclaimed. “The fact of the matter is that you all of these legacy appointments of people who have relatives, who have management in these universities, and they get in because their parents gave money, because their parents are part of the alumni, etc.”
“So black people should not be ashamed of affirmative action that is trying to correct the wrongs of the past,” she added.
Waters later targets Trump’s education secretary Betsy DeVos, whom she argued “hasn’t seen the inside of a classroom.”
“She doesn’t anything about education and she’s bringing in all of the private and secondary schools that rip off our people every day,” Waters said.
“And then look at [Housing and Urban Development Secretary] Ben Carson,” Waters continued. “My God. My grandmother would call it an educated fool. Here’s a man that has a reputation of being a very highly competent surgeon, but when he talks about poor people, he says they are the cause of their poverty. He doesn’t understand why you didn’t do what he did, and why you didn’t make it like he made it. And he doesn’t know the difference between slavery and immigration.”
Watch the video below, via CSPAN 2: