Maxine Waters: ‘Take Trump out’ remark was about impeachment

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 13: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) holds a news conference to challenge the charges made against her by the House of Representatives ethics committee at the U.S. Capitol August 13, 2010 in Washington, DC. The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct said it found sufficient evidence that Waters' chief of staff, her grandson Mikael Moore, granted "special favors" to a struggling Massachusetts-based bank in which her husband owned stock. Waters has requested that a public trial by an ethics committee panel take place before the November election. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Rep. Maxine Waters rejected Tuesday any suggestion that she was vowing to harm President Donald Trump last week when she said she would “take Trump out.”

“That’s absolutely ridiculous … that a 79-year-old grandmother who is a congresswoman and who has been in Congress and politics all these years doing any harm,” the California Democrat told CNN’s Chris Cuomo in an interview on “New Day.” “The only harm I might be doing to the President is I want him impeached.”

While speaking at the Ali Forney dinner — a gala for LGBT youth — in New York on Friday night, Waters — one of Trump’s fiercest critics on Capitol Hill — told the crowd she was motivated to “take Trump out” and received a huge ovation.

“Wow, what a moving evening this is. I’m sitting here listening, watching, absorbing, thinking about Ali even though I never met him,” she¬†said at the dinner. “And with this kind of inspiration, I will go and take out Trump tonight.”

During her interview with CNN, she said she wants to impeach Trump because his actions and rhetoric are harmful for the US.

“Everybody knows that I’m on the front lines not talking about harming anybody but I am talking about impeachment,” she said. “I don’t think this President should be representing our country … he creates controversy, he cannot get along with our members of Congress, and I’m going to continue my efforts to impeach him.”

‘He absolutely does owe her an apology’

Waters said she believes Trump should apologize to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger earlier this month, over a dispute about Trump’s condolence call.

“It all could be settled if the President of the United States of America would act responsibly and simply apologize,” Waters told Cuomo. “He has to do that and (chief of staff John) Kelly has to do that and they can put an end to this.”

Kelly erroneously claimed congresswoman took credit for building funding, video shows

Trump tweeted shortly after Johnson discussed her disappointment with the call on “Good Morning America” Monday morning, saying the President stumbled on her husband’s name and suggesting the only reason he knew it was because the report was right in front of him.

“I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!” Trump tweeted.

Waters also said that Kelly, who erroneously claimed that Rep. Frederica Wilson claimed credit for securing $20 million in federal funding to build a new FBI field office in Miami in 2015, should also apologize to Wilson.

Wilson, a Democratic congresswoman from Florida, took heat from Trump, who called her a “wacky congresswoman” after she defended the Johnson family and publicized elements of the condolence call.

“(Kelly) absolutely does owe her an apology. He came before the public and said he was in attendance at the event where she was naming the FBI building … and it was absolutely not true,” she said. “He just made it up. He did not tell the truth. I think he was trying to defend this President.”