Today marks the 79th birthday of Maxine Waters, the American politician who has become a voice for the voiceless during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Although she now serves as the U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district, Waters has been a politician since the late 70s (during the Los Angeles riots that followed after the Rodney King beating of 1992, Waters helped deliver relief supplies in Watts and demanded the resumption of vital services).
So, in honor of Waters and her re-emergence during Trump’s presidency as a much-needed outspoken politician (she’s been dawned as the Millennials’ Political Rock Star), we’ve compiled some of her most unapologetic quotes so far this year, ranging from remarks directed at Trump to others that have ultimately become memes. Happy birthday, Auntie Maxine!
January 17, 2017:
I don’t honor him. I don’t respect him, and I don’t want to be involved with him.
The statement was made by Waters during an interview with MSNBC correspondent Tamron Hall, where Waters was explaining why she wasn’t going to be attending Donald Trump‘s presidential inauguration. Prior to this, she had tweeted that she wasn’t going to be present at the inauguration, saying that she “wouldn’t waste my time” going.
Rep. Waters on Trump: "I don't honor him. I don't respect him, and I don't want to be involved with him." https://t.co/WRLNsw71Jt
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 17, 2017
February 21, 2017:
This is a bunch of scumbags, that’s what they are, who are all organized around making money.
Waters was speaking with MSNBC correspondent Chris Hayes when she called members of Trump’s cabinet with alleged ties to Russia “a bunch of scumbags,” whose sole interests are oil, gas, and money.
— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) February 22, 2017
March 28, 2017:
I’m a strong black woman, and I cannot be intimidated. I cannot be undermined. I cannot be thought to be afraid of Bill O’Reilly or anybody.
Back in March, Waters spoke on the House floor and proceeded to question the patriotism of Trump’s supporters.
“[African-Americans] fight against this president, and we point out how dangerous he is for this society and for this country, we’re fighting for the democracy,” Waters said. “We’re saying to those who say they’re patriotic but they’ve turned a blind eye to the destruction that he’s about to cause this country, ‘You’re not nearly as patriotic as we are.'”
Following that, Bill O’Reilly, alongside other Fox News correspondents, watched footage from the speaking during a Fox & Friends segment. After watching it, O’Reilly responded with the following: “I didn’t hear a word [Waters] said. I was looking at the James Brown wig. If we have a picture of James, it’s the same wig.”
O’Reilly faced backlash for his remarks but it was Waters who had the last words, tweeting the following: “I am a strong black woman. I cannot be intimidated, and I’m not going anywhere.”
I am a strong black woman. I cannot be intimidated, and I'm not going anywhere. #BlackWomenAtWork
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) March 29, 2017
April 19, 2017:
It was a sexual harassment enterprise there at Fox.
Following the firing of O’Reilly amid multiple sexual assault allegations, Waters called Fox a “sexual harassment enterprise” during an interview with CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper. The statement was made in reference to other Fox News correspondents such as Eric Bolling and Charles Payne who were facing sexual assault allegations, as well as deceased Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) April 20, 2017
May 9, 2017:
I think he’s a racist, I think he’s a throwback, and I don’t mind saying it, any day of the week.
Serving as the guest on the Washington Post’s Cape Up podcast, Waters spoke on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and referred to him as a “racist” and “a throwback.”
“I think that Jeff Sessions is very dangerous…and I think that he absolutely believes that it’s his job to keep minorities in their place,” Waters told Cape Up host Jonathan Capehart. “And so I think we have to watch him, we have to keep an eye on him and be prepared to push back.”
— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) May 11, 2017
June 7, 2017:
So Comey told Jeff Sessions he didn’t want to be alone with Trump. Women across the country can relate.
During former FBI director James B. Comey‘s testimony where he accused Trump of firing him over the ongoing Russia investigation, Comey recounted how he told Sessions he didn’t want to be left alone with Trump after he told Comey to end his investigation his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn. Waters used the statement to criticize Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia, as well as reference disparaging remarks he made with Billy Bush back in 2005.
So Comey told Jeff Sessions he didn't want to be alone with Trump. Women across the country can relate.
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) June 7, 2017
July 27, 2017:
Reclaiming my time.
The phrase that has spawned countless memes and even songs, Waters used the phrase (which is rooted in House floor procedure) during a House Financial Services Committee hearing where she confronted Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and why his office had not responded to a letter from her office regarding Trump’s financial ties to Russian banks. Mnuchin attempted to begin his response by complimenting Waters but the California representative wasn’t having it, telling him: “Thank you for your compliments on how great I am but I don’t want to waste my time on me.” Whenever Mnuchin failed to directly answer Waters’ question she responded with “reclaiming my time.”
"Reclaiming My Time," the story of a people. pic.twitter.com/ZRlHNbQamt
— deray (@deray) July 28, 2017
Happy birthday to the queen of the eloquent clapback.