First of all let’s get one thing straight, honey: you’re on Maxine Waters’ time and you’d be wise not to waste it. Representative Waters—who did not come to play, is not here to play, and does not foresee playtime included on any future agendas—had to let Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin know about it yesterday. True to form, she did not mince words and, in so doing gave all of us a brand new way to say “you tried it.”
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The Secretary of the Treasury was testifying before the House Financial Services Committee on the State of the International Financial System. As the ranking member on the committee, Rep. Waters was the first to question Secretary Mnuchin after the Chairman’s remarks and she cut right to the chase. She wanted answers about financial impropriety between foreign banks and the administration and she’s wanted them for a hot minute. “Are you familiar with the May 23rd letter I sent to you along with several Democratic members of this committee ?” she asked, which is the congressional way of saying “Boy, didn’t you hear me calling you?”
She later continued, “Given your department’s statement that the agency takes responsiveness to congressional requests very seriously… is there some reason why I did not get a response to the letter that I sent May 23rd?”
In case you can’t hear the read written into every word of that statement, that’s the congressional way of saying “Honey, you’re acting brand new and I gotta let you know.”
Secretary Mnuchin began his response by thanking Rep. Waters for her service to California. Like Mikayla at the Olympics, Rep. Waters was unimpressed. She cut him off, “We don’t want to take my time up with how great I am,” effectively winning the gold medal in interrogation with a breathtaking move called The You Got The Wrong One Today, Friend.
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You don’t have to tell Rep. Waters how great she is. She is aware. Are you new? This isn’t a Lifetime Achievement Award dinner, this is a congressional hearing. Rep. Waters is trying to get the president impeached by lunch time and take the rest of the afternoon off. Let’s speed this up.
Poor Secretary Mnuchin; he never stood a chance. Rep. Waters doesn’t even let bespectacled boo-thang Chris Hayes get a word in and she actually likes him. You think you can just come up in here and give your life story when she wanted a simple answer? No, you cannot. Secretary Mnuchin showed up like that person at church who gives a testimony for 45 minutes and Maxine Waters is the organist who plays him off with a quickness. “Wrap it, buddy. Save it for the Rapture.”
First of all, if Maxine Waters writes you a letter, you better pull out your good stationary with the watermark, brush up on your Mavis Beacon skills and get to replying. How you gonna leave Rep. Waters on read? You tried to ghost her like a Tinder date.
Rep. Waters wants you to know her she’s not one of your little friends you can ignore. She is a congresswoman and when she sends you correspondence you better make like a Jane Austen heroine and write back.
Alas, you tried to play her like whoever was on the other side of Lady Gaga’s call in “Telephone” and she’s not here for it.
Second of all, when she calls you in front of congress to ask you why you didn’t make like Alexander Hamilton and write your way out, the last thing you want to do is try to talk until her time runs out. Did you forget to set your watch forward, sir? We’re on Maxine Standard Time. No questions, please.
Exasperated by the Secretary’s reticence, Maxine “I Was Born Over It” Waters, interrupts him with the new siren call of the Resistance. “Reclaiming my time! Reclaiming my time!” she called. Honey, I screamed.
Mnuchin just about screamed, too.
Mnuchin: I was going to answer that.
Waters: Just please, go straight to the answer.
Mnuchin: Mr. Chairman, I thought when you read the rules, you acknowledged that I shouldn’t be interrupted and—
Waters: What he failed to tell you was, when you’re on my time, I can reclaim it.
BLOOP. BLOOP. ALL THE BLOOPS.
Welcome to today’s screening of the film A Waters in Time. It lasts until she says it’s over.
Honey, there is no better response than “Reclaiming my time.” It’s the congressional way of saying “What you’re not going to do is…” It is beyond saying “I don’t have time for this.” It says “I have time for this and you can’t have it.” Maxine has conquered time, y’all. She’s the new Dr. Who up in here and she is over your Dalek nonsense today, friend.
I am going to use Reclaiming my Time for every situation, everywhere, for the rest of my life. We all should.
“I was told by AppleCare—”
“RECLAIMING MY TIME. Your phone is broken. Get over it.”
“You owe taxes this year—”
“RECLAIMING MY TIME. Miss me with that. Take my money out of the wall budget, comrade.”
“McCain is such a maverick, he—”
“RECLAIMING MY TIME. Collins and Murkowski and every Democrat have been against this from jump.”
“Why are you checking Instagram at work?”
“I’m RECLAIMING MY TIME. When is lunch, btw?”
Anyway, I gotta go. Rep. Waters is giving me the “Wrap it up” signal and I’m going to listen. It’s Maxine’s time; I’m just borrowing it.
Follow R. Eric Thomas on Twitter.