House Dems elected Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (Dem-NY) as minority leader on Wednesday, despite his repeated denials of the 2016 election’s legitimacy.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stepped down earlier this month to provide space for a “new generation to head the Democratic Caucus,” and Jeffries, 52, an attorney from Brooklyn, will therefore lead the House Democrats.
Jeffries went unchallenged for the job and became one of the first election deniers to win the caucus of a major party in either chamber. Jeffries is also the first African-American congressman to be appointed minority leader.
The congressman from New York was first elected into Congress in 2013 and has been the head of the House Democrat Caucus since 2019.
“This is a transitional period,” Jeffries told the media Tuesday night. “We stand on the shoulders of giants, but we also hope to be able to do what is necessary right now to advance the concerns.”
Jeffries has challenged the legality of US elections at least nine times. He incorrectly claimed that the 2016 election was “illegitimate” and also that former President Donald Trump was elected “artificially.”
In 2019, Jeffries incorrectly asserted that the Trump administration was under a “cloud of illegitimacy” and that Democrats should “attempt to figure out what the hell happened.” The next year, Jeffries incorrectly asserted that “the cloud of illegitimacy on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue gets stronger by the day.”
He tweeted in 2020 that Donald Trump’s presidency will never be recognized as real. “History will never regard Trump as a real President,” he said.
Jeffries’ election-denying rhetoric is consistent with Pelosi’s own stance on the 2016 election. Pelosi incorrectly said in 2017 that “our election was hijacked. There is no doubt.”
With the assistance of top lieutenants, Jeffries will now attempt to manage the Democratic caucus along with Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), who was elected minority whip, and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), who was elected Democrat Caucus chairman.