The venue was gorgeous. The drinks were flowing. And Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) had just given a “rip-roaring” speech before the Democrats gathered for Clinton’s official election celebration at Los Angeles’s the Edison club, an old power plant renovated in 1920s chic. 

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Then the returns began to come in.


“When I finished, I heard the mumblings and the murmurs — like concern. People were learning about the results,” Waters said. 

Waters and her husband returned to her own election party — a less dramatic affair, since she won with 76 percent of the vote — “and by the time we got back, the election had been called.” 

“I, of course, remember feeling shocked, sad, unbelievable,” Waters recalled. 

“This can’t be happening.”

Waters would quickly emerge after the election as one of Trump’s most vocal Capitol Hill critics, championing a boycott of both the president’s inauguration and his first big speech before Congress. Almost a year later, she feels Trump’s track record has left her vindicated.

“He has been absolutely horrible. He has lied. … He has no respect for government or the Constitution. He has alienated our allies,” she said. “I had no expectations for him doing … what was in the best interests of all of the people. And of course, he has not disappointed me.”