Politics

Trump Escalates Attacks on ‘Crazy Maxine,’ Alleging Corruption

President warns of ‘infestation’ of MS-13 gang members that Dems call false

Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., are seen after a meeting of the of House Democratic Conference in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump provided some fireworks Tuesday morning even before Independence Day celebrations light up skies across America, calling Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters “crazy” and accusing her of corruption.

He also warned of an “infestation” of MS-13 gang members from points south of the United States, contending again that Democrats “do not appreciate” the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that some of them want to abolish or significantly overhaul amid the migrant family separation crisis.

[Trump’s Supreme Court Short List Appears at Six or Seven]

The president used a morning tweet to say “Crazy Maxine Waters, said by some to be one of the most corrupt people in politics, is rapidly becoming, together with Nancy Pelosi, the FACE of the Democrat Party.”

Watch: This 4th of July, Expect Trump to be Trump on Immigration

Trump has sought to tie all Democratic incumbents and candidates to Waters ahead of November’s congressional elections after she told supporters to harass White House and administration officials they encounter in public. That came after Trump’s top spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and her family were asked to leave a Northern Virginia restaurant because she works for the often-bombastic Trump.

He has used several tweets and political rallies to hammer Waters and describe her influence within the party in what appears to be an outsized fashion, likely aiming to fire up his base by portraying the Democrats as becoming more like Waters, who conservative media outlets frequently feature for her harsh comments about the president and other Republicans.

A Waters spokeswoman had not responded for a reaction to Trump’s tweet.

But the president did not stop there, also tweeting a contention that Waters’ “ranting and raving, even referring to herself as a wounded animal, will make people flee the Democrats!”

In another tweet, the onetime “law and order” candidate returned to his 2016 campaign rhetoric, writing about the American people that they "want and demand Safety and Security, while the Democrats are more interested in  ripping apart and demeaning (and not properly funding) our great Law Enforcement!"

Trump’s tweet was the latest move in his shift into campaign gear, where he appears most comfortable.

On Sunday, with the House and Senate up for grabs in November’s midterm elections, he again signaled he views immigration — as well as the GOP tax law he signed in December — as a winning issue for Republicans and a weak spot for Democrats.

“Between Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi and getting rid of ICE and having open borders … all it’s going to do is lead to massive, massive crime,” he said of the two California Democrats. “That’s going to be their platform: open borders, which equals crime. I don’t think they’ll win another election. I’m actually quite happy about it.”

He continued trying to get political miles out of the immigration issue Tuesday morning, tweeting this: “When we have an “infestation” of MS-13 GANGS in certain parts of our country, who do we send to get them out? ICE!”

[WATCH: This 4th of July, Expect Trump to be Trump on Immigration]

The president often uses all capital letters for words and phrases he wants to emphasize, apparently aiming to excite his political base. Immigration and crime experts, echoed by Democratic members, say there is no influx of MS-13 members coming into the United States.

But Trump wants to make ICE agents a rallying cry for his conservative base and other Republicans, writing, “They are tougher and smarter than these rough criminal elements that bad immigration laws allow into our country. Dems do not appreciate the great job they do!”

House and Senate Democratic leaders condemned Waters’ call for people to harass Trump White House and administration officials. She responded Sunday by saying she was surprised by her leaders’ calls for restraint, but also sent a message to Trump.

“I was blessed with courage. And I was blessed with the kind of strength that does not allow me to be intimidated by the likes of Donald Trump,” Waters told MSNBC. “Let him call me whatever he wants to call me. Let him say whatever he wants to say. He will not stop me.”

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