Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., had a public meltdown on while chairing a public Congressional hearing Tuesday.
It was the latest episode of political theater, hosted by another lead Democrat. But she couldn’t handle being challenged and refused to excuse Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin when he challenged her.
Waters, chairwoman of House Financial Services Committee, went out of her way to antagonize Mnuchin and yelled at him — critics say for no apparent reason other than to feed her own ego.
A testy exchanged resulted, front and center on Capitol Hill. It’s one of the worst examples of Trump Derangement Syndrome from Democratic lawmakers this year.
During the testimony, Mnuchin reminded Waters that he was scheduled to leave at 5:00 pm for a meeting with foreign leaders in Bahrain, part of his obligation to his job.
Waters was furious.
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“Mr. Secretary, I want you to know that no other secretary has ever told us the day before that they were going to limit their time in the way that you’re doing! So if you want to use them as examples, you have acted differently than they have acted, and as I have said, if you wish to leave, you may,” Waters told him.
But it’s not that simple. If Mnuchin left without being formally excused, he could potentially be held in contempt of Congress.
“If you’d wish to keep me here so that I don’t have my important meeting and continue to grill me, then we can do that,” Mnuchin replied. “I will cancel my meeting and I will not be back here. I will be very clear if that’s the way you’d like to have this relationship.”
“Please cancel your meeting and respect our time,” Maxine said, before turning around and changing her tune just seconds later.
“You are free to leave,” she then said sarcastically. “Anytime you want, you may go.”
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Critics say it was political theater, and Waters was being difficult just for the sake of being difficult.
Waters refused to bang the gavel, which would have granted a proper dismissal of the hearing. Throughout the course of the argument, it was becoming increasingly clear that Waters was angry and trying to force Mnuchin to breach Congressional rules.
So Mnuchin, having had enough, forced the issue.
“Please dismiss everybody,” he said, “I believe you’re supposed to take the gavel and bang it, that’s appropriate—“
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Waters interrupted Mnuchin with a grim stare and raised her voice: “Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee!”
Mnuchin was testifying before Congress to testify that he wasn’t instructed by the White House in reference to President Donald Trump’s tax returns. He claimed he was being “grilled” by House Democrats.
On Tuesday, liberal lawmakers showed yet again they’re willing to pull out all the stops to bog down the Trump administration with legal nonsense — and they’re more than willing to turn Congress into a political theater if challenged.
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You can watch an excerpt of the exchange that everyone’s buzzing about here:
More from Mnuchin-Waters exchange today.
Mnuchin says he's gotta go, prompting Waters to say: "If you wish to leave, you may leave."
Mnuchin asks Waters to bang "the gravel" to dismiss hearing.
"Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this committee," she said. pic.twitter.com/14tYv3SKe5
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 10, 2019
The Horn editorial team