By Ray Richardson
LOS ANGELES — U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters said she is considering a lawsuit against the conservative Fox News Network for falsely claiming that she used “government resources inappropriately” during a trip to Minnesota to support the family of Daunte Wright — false claims that she says has ignited increased deaths threats against her.
“My lawyers are evaluating” possible legal action Waters told The Wave May 19 about potentially challenging Fox News in court. “There’s no time frame for a decision. We’re doing our analysis.”
Waters criticized Fox News for publishing a report on May 14 that was originally posted in April by TownHall, a right-wing news organization.
Citing an internal document from the U.S. Capitol Police, TownHall reported that Waters requested the use of armed U.S. air marshals and Secret Service personnel to travel with her to Minneapolis on April 17 to attend rallies for Wright, a 20-year-old Black man fatally shot by a Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer.
U.S. Capitol Police and the Secret Service issued statements on May 14 denying that any of their personnel provided security for Waters on her flight to Minneapolis.
“This is just another clear example of how dangerous lies and distortions can be,” Waters said in a statement about Fox News’ coverage. “This is a made-up story by Fox. It’s not only irresponsible, but it’s now openly creating danger for me. My office is getting more calls from haters who are threatening my life due to this type of reporting.”
Waters demanded a retraction from Fox News.
On May 18, Fox News said it was standing by its story. As of May 19, the network had not offered a retraction or apology but the story is no longer on the Fox News website.
“Fox News and other publications like the New York Post and the Daily Mail published absolute lies and cited sources that claimed I had requested that Capitol Police, Secret Service, and U.S. Air Marshals travel with me on an April 17 flight. I immediately issued a statement refuting those false claims, highlighting how dangerous lies can be, and challenging Fox News to reveal the truth to its audience — something they continuously fail to do,” Waters said in the statement issued May 18.
The TownHall report, which was posted on April 19, was especially alarming to Waters and her staff because the story displayed a document containing Waters’ flight number and departure time. A spokesperson for the U.S. Capitol Police said the agency is investigating how the document was leaked to TownHall.
Waters indicated the alleged document refers to procedures many members of Congress use to alert Capitol Police of their travel plans.
“Since January 6, there’s more security at the airport to walk you to your gate,” Waters said, referring to the Capitol Hill riot in Washington, D.C. “When I walked to my gate that day, I didn’t have any armed guards or armed Secret Service with me. And I certainly didn’t have any air marshals with me. You don’t even know when those folks are around, or even if they’re on your plane.”
Waters issued a statement on her Congressional page May 15 to refute the allegations of her security requests. She attacked Fox News specifically, continuing a feud that has existed for numerous years between the congresswoman and the network.
This is the first time, though, that Waters accused Fox News of threatening her safety with the false security reports.
According to her office, a man from Kansas left a profane and racist message for Waters last Dec. 15 that included the words, “I got an AK47 and I’ll use it if I have to.”
On Feb. 8, a man from Mississippi called the congresswoman’s district office and left a similar message threatening Waters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-San Francisco, according to her staff.
A statement from Waters’ office said the Capitol Police were investigating both the call from Kansas and Mississippi, along with a few other “menacing calls” made to her office within the past several weeks.
Ray Richardson is a contributing writer for The Wave. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City News Service also contributed to this story.