Allow me to share a press release with you that you likely won't otherwise see or even hear of. It was issued yesterday by Maxine Water's congressional office. And even though one of the sacred tenets of the MAGA crowd is hatred of the media, I suspect Waters' complaint isn't going to be something they use as an example of media wrong-doing. Neighboring Los Angeles congressmember Ted Lieu, however, was very aware of the story and told me this morning that "When you look up the definition of courage in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Maxine Waters." Does that pique your curiosity?
Waters began by reminding the legitimate media that "Fox News is an organization that charades as a news outlet while manufacturing lies, claiming them as truths, and using their platform that reaches millions of Americans as a vessel to spread misinformation. It is no surprise that the targets of Fox’s misinformation campaigns include women of color like me, other people of color, and anyone who dares to speak the truth." Below is the rest of Waters' press release. Let me warn readers that it is filled with disgusting racism and misogyny that anyone investigating Trump supporters quickly comes into contact with.
“In a recent article by Fox News, reporters William La Jeunesse and Lee Ross cited sources that falsely claimed I was accompanied by two armed Capitol Police and two U.S. Secret Service agents on an April 17 flight, that I requested a total of four U.S. Air Marshals, and used government resources for my travels. Variations of this article and false claim were then published by the New York Post and the Daily Mail.
“Each and every one of these claims is an absolute lie. Let it be made clear that I have never requested or utilized any Capitol Police, Secret Service, or U.S. Air Marshal presence on that flight or any of my flights.
“The United States Capitol Police quickly refuted and debunked the claims reported by Fox News in a statement that read as follows: ‘The USCP did not have any officers or agents on the plane with Rep. Waters.’
“Following my trip to Minnesota, I became aware that documents outlining a security threat assessment that included my flight number and other travel information was leaked to TownHall, a right-wing media outlet. It was then subsequently shared by Fox News, the New York Post, the Post Millennial, and other outlets where it was falsely claimed that the document indicated I had requested police protection during my trip. Again, this is an absolute lie.
“The United States Capitol Police has informed my staff that they are continuing to investigate the source of the leak. This leak of my travel information and operational and threat assessment information is deeply disturbing and puts my life at risk.
“Because of the way that right wing media outlets have rushed to spread lies about me, it should be no surprise that as an outspoken Black woman with an important role in Congress as Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, death threats against me have continued.
“A recent death threat that was left on a voicemail message to my office shows the direct link between Fox’s lies and the threats to my life. These are the disturbing words that the caller used:
‘You stupid fucking nigger. How much more do you want to tear this country apart with your racist bullshit?... Your ass is on the fucking line. You may not know it, you may think your security detail is good enough to keep you safe, but I’m calling you from Louisiana and I know you are not safe and your life is on the line bitch. I don’t care if the Secret Service shows up at my door – you deserve to be hung by a rope for treason… And I swear to god, bitch, if I have to come to California to eliminate your fucking ass…And I swear to god, I pray for your death every day just like you prayed for the fucking conviction of an officer who is not guilty. So, go fuck yourself and go shove your face into some dough, in the kitchen, and make some gorilla cookies, bitch… Fuck you Maxine Waters…’
“This is yet another clear example of just how dangerous lies and distortions can be.
“Once again, this is a made-up story by Fox News, which is not only irresponsible, but now openly creating danger for me. My office is now getting even more calls from haters who are threatening my life due to this type of reporting. As a result of Fox’s willingness to lie and deceive its audience, I am now considering a lawsuit against Fox News and demand an immediate retraction of the article.
“Lastly, I am Maxine Waters and my life is constantly threatened by racists, haters, and ill-informed people under the influence of the likes of Fox News. If in fact I lose my life because of these scurrilous attacks in the fight against injustice and racism, my life will not have been lost in vain.”
On December 15, 2020, mere weeks before the Capitol insurrection, a man from Kansas called Congresswoman Waters and left a message saying “You black nigger whore…your ass is grass. Your time is coming nigger bitch…I got an AK47 and I’ll use it if I have to.” On February 8, 2021 a man from Mississippi called the Congresswoman’s district office and left a message saying: “You are a disgusting piece of shit…If I didn’t have a kid, I would wipe out all you disgusting pieces of shit…I got nothing to lose…I would take my AR and spray Pelosi, YOU, Swalwell, Sheila Jackson Lee…” The Capitol Police is investigating both the call from Kansas and Mississippi along with a few other menacing calls made to Rep. Waters’ office within the past several weeks.
These calls follow a string of deadly threats made against the Office of Congresswoman Waters over the past few years:
In April 2018, Anthony Scott Lloyd (California), a Trump supporter in California, pleaded guilty to threatening Congresswoman Waters in a voicemail, during which he stated “What you said at your little faggot conference, if you continue to make these threats towards the President, you’re going to wind up dead, Maxine, because we will kill you…You can call the FBI, you can call the NSA, you can call whoever the fuck you want and report this…. Bitch, you do it again, you’re dead. You’re a fucking dead ass nigger.” Lloyd was sentenced to six months of home detention, three years probation, and 100 hours of community service.
In November 2018, Richard Mel Phillips (Florida), pleaded guilty to leaving a threatening voicemail message with Congresswoman Waters’ office stating “there is nothing stopping me from killing your fucking ass,” and that he would travel to her home state and “stick a bullet through your fucking skull.” Phillips was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2019.
In February 2019, Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Hasson (Maryland)-- a self-described white nationalist who advocated for “focused violence” in order to establish a white homeland – was charged for plotting to kill Congresswoman Waters along with several other Members of Congress, and television anchors. Following his arrest, federal agents found 15 firearms, including seven rifles, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his home in a suburb of Washington, D.C. Hasson was sentenced to 160 months (over 13 years) in prison.
On March 21, 2019, Cesar Sayoc (Florida)-- a man who reportedly once called himself a white supremacist and drove a van covered in pro-Trump images-- pleaded guilty in federal court for mailing potentially explosive devices to Congresswoman Waters’ Los Angeles and Washington, DC offices, and to the offices or residences of 12 other Democratic elected officials, private citizens, and media figures. Sayoc was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
On March 20, 2019, Stephen Taubert (Syracuse, NY) was found guilty by a federal grand jury after calling Congresswoman Waters’ Los Angeles office in July 2018, stating, “I’m gonna be at every event that stupid fucking nigger bitch is at and I’m gonna kill that fucking bitch and all you stupid fucking niggers that work for her.” Taubert was sentenced to 4 years in prison.