Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (California) was targeted in a disinformation attack in May 2018, continuing the pattern of smearing the intelligence of non-white lawmakers from her party for a cheap laugh.
The post originally gained attention on the social media platform formerly (though still more popularly) known as Twitter, showing a split-screen of the California congresswoman and CNN presenter Anderson Cooper, with a fabricated chyron reading “MAXINE WATERS 2020”:
The post and the photograph have since been deleted as has the caption, a graphic of a fabricated exchange between Cooper and Waters:
Anderson: If elected what would your first act as president be?
Waters: Well Anderson, I would impeach Donald Trump.
The shot of Waters and Cooper was taken from her appearance on his program on April 19 2017 — the same day right-wing broadcaster Bill O’Reilly was fired from Fox amid a flurry of allegations of sexual harassment on his part, including one claim he settled for a reported $32 million.
“You know, Bill O’Reilly is not going to be recorded favorably in history,” Waters said of O’Reilly, who himself had been forced to apologize after smearing her as somebody wearing a “James Brown wig.”
“Unfortunately, here was a man who made tremendous sums of money, had a huge show and really, there’s something wrong with him psychologically,” she said at the time.
What is true is that Waters supported the idea of impeaching Trump; shortly before her appearance on Cooper’s show, the lawmaker led a chant asking for exactly that during an appearance at a protest in Washington D.C.
“I don’t respect this president. I don’t trust this president,” Waters said at the demonstration. “He’s not working in the best interest of the American people. His motives and his actions are contemptible.”
Trump would go on to be impeached twice — the second time in January 2021, after he lost the U.S. presidency to Democrat Joe Biden.
Update 9/30/2023, 7:13 p.m. PST: This article has been revamped and updated. You can review the original here. — ag