“No one has done more for you than you have done for yourself,” Rep. Maxine Waters told the crowd Wednesday at the opening reception of the Victory Institute’s International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C.
The California Democrat was a keynote speaker at the annual gathering of LGBTQ elected officials, leaders and advocates from across the world. A long-time ally of the community, Waters addressed the challenges facing the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and spoke candidly — as she often does — about President Donald Trump.
“Under this president, we’re all at risk and under assault,” she told the crowd. “I will be with you in the fights ahead. I’m in it.”
In an interview with NBC News following her speech, Waters reiterated her support for the LGBTQ community.
“I have a long relationship in fighting for equality and justice for the LGBTQ community,” she said. “I’m part of the LGBTQ community, and I’m someone that can be counted on.”
Waters also doubled down on her criticism of President Trump.
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“I’m very disappointed in him, because at one time he was supposed to have been liberal or progressive, and now he’s in between ultra-right and something else,” she said. “He’s been trying to prove to a certain segment of that ultra-right community that he’s ultra-right, and he’s opposed to all the progressive initiatives that are going on in this country.”
One progressive initiative Waters cited specifically was Trump’s actions regarding the failed ban on transgender service members.
“He cannot be trusted,” Waters added. “He must be impeached.”
Also speaking at Wednesday’s event was Rep. Jared Polis, Democrat of Colorado. Polis is one of only seven openly LGBTQ members of Congress and is now a Colorado gubernatorial candidate. When asked about the impact he thinks the Trump administration has had so far on LGBTQ Americans, he said, “Hopefully it’s inspired many more to run for office.”