U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill) said President Donald Trump's comments calling for his supporters to "knock out" protestors were justified.
Norman announced Tuesday he is leading the charge to censure, or officially condemn, California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters' comments telling protestors to continue pushing back on Trump administration officials. At a Lancaster County Republican Party meeting Thursday, Norman said Trump's comments during the campaign were justified, but Waters' comments are not.
"What the president was talking about was somebody who was getting ready to have violence against another person to throw a tomato," Norman said Thursday. "So to stop them from throwing a tomato. What Maxine's promoting — it's two different things. What Maxine's promoting is telling anybody who goes out into a restaurant to get a crowd and incite violence for one thing."
Waters encouraged people at a rally in California to continue publicly confronting Trump administration officials over the zero tolerance border policy that led to the controversial family separation policy.
"Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up," Waters said in a video from Los Angeles. "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. We've got to get the children connected to their parents."
Speaking Wednesday to the House Financial Services Committee, Waters pushed back on criticism, saying Trump is the bigger danger to civility in politics.
She quoted Trump from several of him campaign rallies, including times he told supporters: "I’d like to knock the crap out of them," speaking about protestors. She also quoted Trump saying: "So if you see someone getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them. And would you, seriously? OK just knock the hell out. I promise I will pay for the legal fees, I promise, I promise."
Norman said Thursday he stands by the president's comments, but he said Waters asking supporters to "push back" against Trump officials was "fueled with hatred, dangerous, and downright unacceptable."
Norman said he will continue to pursue the censure.
"The president's comments were made back during the campaign, during rallies when, you know, protestors were standing up," Norman said "Now, the president can make the comments he wants. I'm saying, my resolution has nothing to do with the president. My censure has to do with Maxine Waters who made the inciting comments."
Norman will face second-time challenger Archie Parnell Nov. 6 after Parnell beat out three other Democrats in the primary election.