Highly frequented fact-checking site PolitiFact rated a claim that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said supporters of former President Donald Trump “were not welcome here” as “mostly false,” since her remarks were directed at Cabinet officials, The Washington Examiner reported Tuesday.
“Waters did say that members of Trump’s Cabinet are ‘not welcome anymore, anywhere’ in a June 2018 critique of the administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy,” PolitiFact stated. “But she did not direct her comments at all Trump supporters as this post suggests.”
The fact-checker rated the claim that the congresswoman, a harsh critic of the former president, directed her comments specifically at Trump supporters as “mostly false.”
The fact-check, according to The Washington Examiner, appeared to be the result of a Facebook post that misquoted Waters as saying “every Trump supporting American” is not “welcome here.”
However, the California congresswoman’s actual comments were aimed at members of Trump’s Cabinet.
“If you think we’re rallying now, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” Waters said at a Los Angeles rally on June 23, 2018. “Already, you have members of your Cabinet that are being booed out of restaurants, who are — protesters taking up at their house, who are saying, ‘no peace, no sleep. No peace, no sleep.’”
“And so, let’s stay the course. Let’s make sure we show up, wherever we have to show up,” she continued. “And if you see anybody from that 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.”
Months later, the congresswoman defended her remarks, saying that while she did not threaten Trump’s supporters in that particular speech, she has threatened them in the past, as The Washington Examiner pointed out.
“I did not threaten [Trump] constituents and supporters. I do that all the time, but I didn’t do that that time,” Waters said in a September 2018 speech to a laughing Los Angeles crowd.
Nonetheless, PolitiFact still rated the Facebook post’s claim as “mostly false,” as The Washington Examiner noted.
“And while Waters did make statements suggesting Trump Cabinet members should be singled out in public, she did not direct her comments at Trump supporters broadly, as this post suggests,” the fact-checker also said.
On top of misquoting Waters about Trump supporters, the Facebook post, according to PolitiFact, also misquoted her as saying: “We must welcome everyone who crosses our borders, whether they are illegal or not.”
However, the fact-checker said that “neither quote is accurate.”
“The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed,” PolitiFact went on to say, providing a link to more information about its partnership with the massive social media site.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”
Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.
Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.
At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.
“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”
“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”
During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.
“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.
Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.
“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.
“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”
He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.
Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”
“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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