Republicans have found a new boogeyman: Maxine Waters

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Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Families Belong Together LA

  • Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters has called on supporters to harass Trump administration officials in public, drawing fury from the president and other GOP groups.
  • Waters is now appearing in more ads, yet continues making controversial comments and launching attacks.

WASHINGTON – Republicans have used many Democratic figureheads as their boogeyman over the years as a central focus for motivating voters to stop a liberal, left-leaning scourge from consolidating control in Washington.

The big bad wolf is typically a leader of the Democratic Party in some respect – Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, etc.

But now, thanks in part to her own doing and because of an onslaught of attacks from President Donald Trump, California Rep. Maxine Waters is quickly becoming a regular face for Republicans to use in campaign efforts and attacks ads.

Waters has been one of the most outspoken critics of Trump, regularly calling for his impeachment and condemning his every move. Waters upped the ante last month when she called on the public to oust Trump administration officials from public places if given the chance.

“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,” she said at a rally in California.

Waters’ remarks were met with condemnation from Democratic leaders, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Waters’s plea to supporters then resulted in cancelled events over fears of retaliation.

Immediately, Waters’ quote was packaged into an ad by the Republican National Committee titled, “The Left in 2018: Unhinged,” which also showed a handful of liberal celebrities insulting Trump and some calling for his assassination.

And the attacks on Waters for her outlandish comments extended beyond official GOP operations. Moments after a gunman killed several journalists at local newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, Fox News host Sean Hannity suggested that Waters’s rhetoric was to blame.

Waters’s comments have made Trump angry

Waters is relatively powerless in the House Democrats’ hierarchy, though she does hold a coveted ranking member position on the Committee on Financial Services.

She has been upfront in making it clear she despises Trump. Since the beginning of his presidency, she has refused to engage with him in a professional capacity, and even skipped his first address to a joint session of Congress.

And her comments have drawn the ire of Trump, particularly during his daily morning Twitter tirades.

“Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party,” Trump wrote on Twitter last month. “She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!”

Trump’s furious missives against Waters have only accelerated recently. He has now dubbed her the “face of the Democrats” and excoriated her for “referring to herself as a wounded animal.”

And Waters’s rising notoriety during the Trump era have created problems for Republicans elsewhere.

Waters shares the same media market in southern California with Republican Rep. Mimi Walters. Because the two have similar sounding names, the Walters campaign is extra careful about distinguishing her from the liberal firebrand in all campaign materials, like making sure her face is on almost everything, according to a Republican familiar with the matter.

By and large, Waters’ newfound fame is quickly becoming a resource for Republicans looking to tie her to their opponents. Waters is nowhere near as influential or as integral to the Democratic Party as their leadership or majority of the House conference. But that does not mean Republicans have not found a new punching bag.