DETROIT— Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) launched into a lengthy critique of President Donald Trump at the Women’s Convention here on Saturday, at one point leading attendees in chants of “Impeach 45!” that reverberated through the convention hall.
The congresswoman was the featured speaker, addressing more than 4,000 attendees ― mostly women ― at the three-day gathering in Detroit, which organizers billed as the beginning of a “political groundswell” bringing together new activists, politicians and seasoned grassroots organizers.
“Donald Trump is the most dishonorable and despicable human being to ever serve in the office of the president,” Waters said to a standing ovation and thunderous applause at the first major women’s convention in 40 years.
At several points during the three days, panelists and organizers emphasized that the gathering was about so much more than a rebuke of Trump, but the crowd went wild at Waters’ critique of the 45th president.
“This is a man with no good values, no good intentions and no good respect,” she told the crowd at the Cobo Center. “That’s why I know we must keep fighting, and that women must lead this resistance. We cannot afford to be shut down or shut up by any man, particularly not one as indecent and deplorable as Donald Trump.”
Waters was also greeted with cheers when she issued a warning to men to “keep your hands off our backs and our goddamn bodies.”
The official theme of the Women’s Convention — organized by the leaders of January’s Women’s March — was “Reclaiming Our Time,” a phrase that swept the internet over the summer after the congresswoman used it while sparring with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a House committee hearing.
“I want you to know how thrilled I was to participate in the January Women’s March,” Waters told the crowd. “It was not a protest. It was a movement that was founded by and for women from all walks of life who are very concerned with the future and direction of this country. I walked and I talked and I laughed and I cried and I saw those pussycats — and I went crazy.”
Before Waters took the stage, Tamika Mallory, national co-chair of the Women’s March, addressed some of the controversy surrounding Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) planned appearance as the opening night speaker of a gathering for women — an appearance Sanders ultimately canceled in favor of traveling to Puerto Rico. But Sanders was not the first speaker organizers reached out to when planning the convention, Mallory said. Waters was.
“I like my brother Bernie Sanders a lot,” she told the crowd, “[but] he was not the keynote for the Women’s Convention.”
To hear Waters speak, skip forward to 1:32 in the video.