California Rep. Maxine Waters (D) has never been one to mince words or shy away from a good political fight during her more than 20 years in Congress. On May 19 at Southern Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md. she provided more than 100 VIP guests with an earful about the upcoming election and of course, her favorite topic lately, President Donald Trump, or as she calls him “45.”

California Rep. Maxine Waters says the Trump administration is standing in the way of closing the wealth gap. (Courtesy Photo)

Jointly sponsored by the Maryland Business and Clergy Partnership and National Capital Baptist Convention, the Empowerment Breakfast was the first of what organizers say are several events leading up to the next election cycle. Speakers included Maryland Black Caucus Vice President Darryl T. Barnes (D-District 25), Del. Diane Fennell (D-District 47), District 8 Council Rep. Obie Patterson and District 9 Council Rep. Mel Franklin.

Waters has been on a public crusade to impeach Trump and bring justice to what she calls the “Kremlin Klan” – Trump’s inner circle with secret dealings and ties to Russia. She made it clear that these are perilous times and Black voters are going to have to lead the Democratic Party and the nation back to global leadership.

“This administration stands firmly in the way of our ability to close the wealth gap to improve our educational system and provide a strong safety net,” said Waters, who was interrupted several times during her 40-minute speech by acclamations from the crowd. “We are confronted by Trump’s efforts to roll back the gains we have achieved. The people he has placed in his cabinet have a history of discrimination.”

She said the stakes are extremely high as voters go to the polls in local, state, and national elections. “We have always led the way and we are going to have to lead the way again,” said Waters, who said local officials must come together with other organizations such as the church to organize voters and to hold fast to the advances that have been made over the last 50 years. “We have defeated others who were like Trump. We will do it again. He gets on television and he lies to us every day. He should be impeached.”

Waters says at the root of the Russian scandal is money. “ and Russian President Vladimir Putin are buddies. This President is so undisciplined and so in love with himself he believes he is the king. Every time he opens his mouth, he leads us right to his (crimes). His No. 1 job is to get the sanctions against Russia lifted so they can drill in the Antarctic and they can get rich. There are trillions of dollars at stake.”

Before leaving, “Auntie Maxine” as she is affectionately known by millennials, encouraged the youth to use social media to call their elected officials to protest inequities in the law. “You have to make your voices heard,” she said.

Shortly after Water’s speech, Barnes said the county had its own political fights to sort out. He talked of the lack of housing for veterans, the possible loss of health insurance benefits for tens of thousands of residents in the county, and the snub of Black businesses in the medical marijuana industry. “All of these are things we need to be fighting for,” Barnes said. “We have a lot of work to do.”