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Chairwoman Maxine Waters, of Calif., speaks as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the House Committee on Financial Services, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb.11, 2020 in Washington. (AP) Chairwoman Maxine Waters, of Calif., speaks as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the House Committee on Financial Services, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb.11, 2020 in Washington. (AP)

Chairwoman Maxine Waters, of Calif., speaks as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the House Committee on Financial Services, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb.11, 2020 in Washington. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher January 25, 2021

No, Calif. Rep. Maxine Waters didn’t say Trump supporters ‘not welcome here’

If Your Time is short

  • Neither quote is accurate.

  • Waters in 2018 criticized the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that led to the separation of children from their parents at the Mexico border, saying that members of Trump’s Cabinet were “not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

  • Her comments were not about Trump supporters generally.

In the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency, a 2018 social media post resurfaced featuring one of Trump’s sharpest critics, California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters.

The post shows two images of Waters, each overlaid with a quote attributed to her.

The first: "We’re sending a message to every Trump supporting American that you’re not welcome here." The second: "We must welcome everyone who crosses our borders, whether they are illegal or not."

A caption next to the image, which was shared 44,000 times, captures the irony of the supposed quotes: "So actual Americans are unwelcome but illegals are welcome? Thanks for clearing that up."

However, neither quote is accurate. And while Waters did make statements suggesting Trump Cabinet members should be singled out in public, she did not direct her comments at Trump supporters broadly, as this post suggests.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

In searches of Google and Nexis news archives, we found no evidence that Waters had uttered either quote. 

But the post appears to allude to the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy on immigration, announced in April 2018. The policy led to the separation of nearly 3,000 children from their parents when families tried to enter the United States at the Mexico border without permission.

Waters’ Trump comment

We did find that on June 23, 2018, Waters made comments about Trump’s Cabinet members during a rally in Los Angeles. During the event, she demanded that children separated at the border be reunited with their parents.

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Her comments came one day after the owner of a restaurant in Lexington, Va., refused to serve then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and asked her to leave, saying Sanders works in an "inhumane and unethical" administration.

Waters said at the rally:

"We want the children back. We want them connected to their parents. We want it done now. We’re going to insist on it. If you think we’re rallying now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Already you have members of your Cabinet that are being booed out of restaurants, who are — protesters taking up at their house, who are saying, ‘no peace, no sleep; no peace, no sleep.’"

She added: 

"And so, let’s stay the course. Let’s make sure we show up, wherever we have to show up. 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."

Our ruling

A Facebook post says Waters said Trump supporters are "not welcome here" and that "we must welcome everyone who crosses our borders." 

Neither quote is accurate.

Waters did say that members of Trump’s Cabinet are "not welcome anymore, anywhere" in a June 2018 critique of the administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, one that led to the separation of children from their parents at the Mexico border. But she did not direct her comments at all Trump supporters as this post suggests.

We rate this post Mostly False.

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More by Tom Kertscher

No, Calif. Rep. Maxine Waters didn’t say Trump supporters ‘not welcome here’

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