Rep. Maxine Waters (D.-Calif.) on Monday stepped up her criticism of President Barack Obama, this time for suggesting the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) was not working hard enough to help the president or their own community.
Speaking at the Caucus’s annual dinner last weekend, Obama said the black community needs to stop complaining about the unemployment rate and help him turn the economy around.
“I expect all of you to march with me and press on,” Obama said. “Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. We are going to press on. We’ve got work to do, CBC.”
But it wasn’t just Congressional Black Democrats who Obama was addressing, Waters told MSNBC Monday that civil-rights leaders were also in the audience, people who should never be accused of “sitting around in bed slippers or house slippers,” but historical leaders who have been “marching for years” to defend and better the Black community.
Waters also took a swipe at Obama for going on vacation in August to Martha’s Vineyards while members of the Black Caucus were working to “document the misery and joblessness.”
Waters said Black Americans wants to “make sure he understands” the “pain and misery” the economy is causing in their community so that he “protects his base.”
“They’re not grumbling,” she said, “they’re asking for help.”
“I think he got a little off the teleprompter,” Waters said.
Waters also appeared on CBS’s “The Early Show” and questioned whether the president would ever make a similar speech to other minority groups.
“We’re working. We support him, and we’re protecting that base because we want people to be enthusiastic about him when that election rolls around,” Waters said.
“I found that language a bit curious because the president spoke to the Hispanic Caucus, and certainly they’re pushing him on immigration… he certainly didn’t tell them to stop complaining. And he would never say that to the gay and lesbian community, who really pushed him on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Waters said.
This isn’t the first time Waters has criticized Obama, especially the administration’s jobs record – the unemployment rate for Black Americans in August was 16.7%, and among young African Americans the rate was 46.5%.
“They want to know that we recognize, and that the president recognizes the pain that is in the African American community,” she said.
Rep. Allen West, a Republican member of the Caucus from Florida, called Obama’s comments “disrespectful and reprehensible.”
“If President Obama believes he is above criticism and reproach for his failed economic policies, then he should either change his policies or step down. Regardless, as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, I admonish President Barack Hussein Obama to apologize to America for his callous remarks,” West said.