During a House Rules Committee hearing this week, Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina had a heated exchange in which she claimed Jan. 6 rioters planned to kill her and other Democratic politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The incident began when Waters questioned Republican members' patriotism and suggested they didn't want to work across the aisle with Democrats to create bipartisan legislation, according to a C-SPAN recording uploaded online.
“I am struck about all of this false talk about bipartisanship. I am absolutely struck in the way that it is hard for me to even explain what it means to try to work with people who have targeted you for being killed,” Waters began.
“Our Capitol was invaded day by those who came to kill us. They looked for Nancy Pelosi, he’s criticizing Nancy Pelosi, they looked for her in order to kill her, and they came armed to kill most of us. But they talk bipartisanship. They don’t know what bipartisanship is,” she added.
“If they want us to overlook the fact that they don’t even support the investigation of those who invaded our Capitol and the members of Congress who worked with them — and they talk about bipartisanship?” Waters continued.
“I wanna tell you, I don’t appreciate that at all, and I take this opportunity to say it,” the California Democrat continued.
As Waters finished her remarks and Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, tried to go on, she was halted by Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn., who stated that while she didn't know "where all that from from," she indicated that McHenry would want the chance to react.
McHenry claimed he didn't believe any reaction would "do our colleagues any good" after McGovern recognized him, but persisted nevertheless.
“But I’ll say this: Last Congress, we did the CARES Act together, we did three dozen bills out of our committee’s jurisdiction, bipartisan, they got signed into law,” he said, noting there were “multiple pieces of legislation.”
“And I’ve tried to work with my colleague,” McHenry said, motioning towards Waters who was seated next to him, “even when she steps out and does TV interviews and says that you should commit violent acts against Republicans.
“And I’ve still been able to legislate with her. And this committee is the best example within Congress of having disagreements but still being able to have the comity and the fairness to treat each other with respect so we can do what the people have asked us to do,” the North Carolina Republican continued.
“I don’t appreciate the personal shots. I don’t appreciate them in committee. But I know the work here is about legislation, not about petty politics. And that’s all I heard, petty politics, and personalities that are unbecoming of this body,” he added.
His comments were promptly answered by Waters. “Mr. McGovern, I don’t want to delay this committee to much –”
“Well, you’ve already done it,” McHenry shot back. “You’ve already done it.”
“I question the patriotism of those who do not want to support an investigation of those who have…who have…”
“See what I mean?” McHenry responded, as the situation devolved into heated comments from both of them, as well as others as McGovern tried in vain to regain control of the hearing.
“This is the Rules Committee…this is the Rules Committee,” McGovern repeated as he attempted to gavel the session back into order as Waters continued to interrupt him.
“Allow me to say something that hopefully is bipartisan at this moment,” McGovern finally managed to say as Waters ceased her interruptions. “Look, passions are running high. A lot of things have been said today that are, quite frankly, provocative on all sides.”