Mnuchin defends Trump's 'low IQ' remarks about Rep. Maxine Waters

 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made light of Donald Trump insulting the intelligence of a prominent African-American member of Congress, saying “the president likes making funny names.” 

Mnuchin made his comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday in response to questions about the disparaging remarks Trump made about Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) at a political rally in western Pennsylvania Saturday evening. 

“We have to defeat [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters ― a very low I.Q. individual,” Trump said.

As the crowd booed the targets of his derision, Trump continued to attack Waters, mimicking her calls for his impeachment.

“You ever see her? You ever seen her? You ever see her?” Trump asked. ”‘We will impeach him! We will impeach the president!’ But he hasn’t done anything wrong. It doesn’t matter, we will impeach him! She’s a low I.Q. individual. You can’t help it. She really is.”

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters arrives at the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League Pro-Choice America's 2012 Los Angeles Power of Choice Reception in West Hollywood, California May 24, 2012. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT POLITICS SOCIETY)
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke (R) talks with U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (L) before he speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 39th Annual Legislative Conference at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, September 25, 2009. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES POLITICS BUSINESS)
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) speaks at a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus with Senator Joseph Lieberman at her side August 15, 2000 in Los Angeles. Lieberman's past voting record on some affirmitive action issues and vouchers has drawn criticism from various African American leaders. Lieberman has been selected by Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore as his choice for vice president. Lieberman will address the Democratic National Convention August 16, 2000 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. FSP
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California reacts to applause as she is introduced at a U.S. Congressional Black Caucus 'Town Meeting' at Mt. Hermon AME church in Miami Gardens, Florida August 22, 2011. The group is sponsoring a jobs fair in downtown Miami on Monday and they say the fair will include more than 100 employers from around the country. REUTERS/Joe Skipper (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton poses for a picture with Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Karen Bass (R) durign a visit to the California African American Museum in Los Angeles May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 06: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), C, looks on as U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) speaks at a news conference criticizing President Donald Trump's Wall Street policies on Capitol Hill on February 6, 2017 in Washington, D.C. President Trump is making his first visit to U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command today at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) speaks at a press conference on Capitol Hill January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. Waters called for investigation into Trump administration ties to Russia. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 28: Mark Thompson interviews US Representative from California, Maxine Waters on SiriusXM on July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Donald Kravitz/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 4: Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., speaks during a press conference with House Democrats on the Export-Import Bank in the Capitol on Thursday, June 4, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 29: Congresswoman Maxine Waters attends the BET Revealed Seminars during the 2013 BET Experience at JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE on June 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for BET)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 31: (L-R) Congresswoman Maxine Waters, host Roland Martin and actress Jack� attend the taping of TV One's 'Washington Watch With Roland Martin' Hollywood Special at KCET Studios on January 31, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TV One)
UNITED STATES - FEB 28: Rep. MaxMaxine Waters, D-CA., and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA., and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT., during a news conference on February 28, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Pelosi and other female members of Congress blamed republicans for doing nothing to stop automatic spending cuts in the so-called sequester, which she said would disproportionately impact women and that Americans ?might as well get a pink slip? directly from House Speaker John Boehner. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
Former Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan arrives with US Congresswoman Maxine Waters for the 57th Presidential Inauguration ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama at the US Capitol on January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. The oath is to be administered by US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 13: Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., speaks at a news conference at the House Triangle, held by Congressional Progressive Caucus to introduce 'The People's Budget,' which claims to create a surplus by 2021 by eliminating current wars and other weapons spending and raising taxes on the rich, among other methods. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) left, and Mark McKinnon, Republican Strategist, right, appear on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Sept. 03, 2011. (Photo by William B. Plowman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 29: Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., makes a statement to reporters in Longworth Building regarding the House ethics committee delaying of her trial. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call)
DETROIT - AUGUST 28: (L-R) Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr., unidentified woman, United Auto Workers's president Bok King, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) participate in a 'Rebuild America-Jobs, Justice and Peace' march in the downtown area August 28, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The march commemorates the historic 'Walk to Freedom' led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Detroit on the same date in 1963. Among the thousands of participants in the peaceful march in support of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and UAW include labor and civic leaders such as United Auto Workers' president Bob King and Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
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Trump has previously ridiculed Waters. In his remarks at the annual Gridiron Club on March 3 in Washington, he said of her, “And I say — and I get in trouble for this — ‘she has to immediately take an IQ test,’ and people go crazy.”

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asked Mnuchin whether he would fire a subordinate who made such comments. 

“You know he likes to put names on people,” Mnuchin said. ”He did that through the entire presidential election, including all the Republicans that he beat. These are campaign rally issues.”

Todd pressed Mnuchin again ― would he allow a member of his staff who made such comments to stay on the job?

“This is something that is [said] at a campaign rally and the president likes making funny names,” Mnuchin said.

Todd also noted that Trump, as usual, attacked “bad people” in the “fake media” ― pointing out to the press area at the back of the rally and encouraging his supporters to boo them.

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
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Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Trump's nominee for Treasury secretary, testifies during his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, January 19, 2017.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin sits with Vanessa Trump (R), wife of Donald Trump Jr, before a swearing-in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington, DC January 22, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Incoming Trump administration Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin departs after working a simulated crisis scenario during transition meetings at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Producer Steve Bing (L) and Honoree Steven Mnuchin recipient of the Philanthropic Leadership Award attend The Kaleidoscope Ball - Designing The Future benefitting the UCLA Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

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Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, right, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy.

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 Steve Mnuchin and Lousie Linton arrive at the Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Jupiter Ascending' at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 2, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

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Heather Mnuchin and Steve Mnuchin attend The Art Show Gala to Benefit The Henry Street Settlement at The Seventh Regiment Armory on February 23, 2005 in New York City.

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Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin attends the inaugural parade of U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, January 20, 2017. Donald Trump was sworn in earlier as the 45th President of the United States.

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Donald Trumps' Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

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Todd was the subject of one of those attacks, with Trump referring to him as  a “sleeping son of a bitch.”

Did Mnuchin support such attacks, Todd asked.

“He’s using these vulgarities in the context of a campaign and obviously there were a lot of funny moments in that rally,” Mnuchin said.

“Yeah, they were hilarious,” Todd replied sarcastically.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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