Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) accused President Trump of being “Putin’s apprentice” on MSNBC Sunday following the news that Trump will be meeting with the Russian president at the White House in the fall. Waters also claimed that she knew what Putin and Trump discussed during their private meeting in Helsinki, Finland earlier this month.
Waters, who has issued dramatic calls for Trump’s impeachment since the beginning of his presidency, said she believes Trump discussed lifting sanctions on Russia during his private meeting with Putin.
“I think I know what they talked about,” she told MSNBC’s Joy Reid, “they talked about lifting the sanctions, they talked about the upcoming elections, they talked about all of the things that they could not talk about in an email or on the phone. He had to go and meet with him in private so that he could talk about what he’s going to do what I believe is his commitment to get those sanctions lifted.”
“This president, I believe, has promised him (Putin) that, once he was elected, he would get those sanctions lifted,” she added, “I think he is Putin’s apprentice. He’s been under his tutelage for a long time now.”
Waters blamed Republicans for not protesting the president over his invitation for a fall meeting with Putin.
“I dare them to talk about how patriotic they are given what they’re allowing this president to do,” she said.
“He’s going to invite him unless the Congress of the United States really takes some serious action,” she continued, asking, “how many of the Republicans are saying I won’t come to the White House, I’m going to be outside demonstrating? How many of them saying don’t invite me to any dinner, you better not have a state dinner.”
This is not the first time Waters has called for protests. She faced serious backlash, including from members of her own party, when she told her supporters at a rally to harass Trump administration officials in restaurants, stores, and gas stations.
Some world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, consider President Trump’s planned meeting with Putin to be a positive thing for both countries.
However, Democrats reacted to the announcement with angry rhetoric Friday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to promise that a “thug like Putin” would not address a joint session of Congress, as world leaders occasionally do when visiting. Pelosi also shares Waters's theory that Putin has compromising information on Trump, calling the Russian president Trump's "puppeteer" last week.
High-ranking Democrats and some Republicans criticized President Trump’s remarks at a press conference last week following the Helsinki summit where he appeared to downplay Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump later clarified that he agreed with the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of the issue.