House Democrats made history this week by electing the first Black congressional party leader.
Following a unanimous vote on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (R-NY) is poised to become the chamber’s minority leader in the upcoming legislative session — but the announcement did not come without some controversy.
GOP critics noted that after more than two years of denouncing prominent conservatives as “election deniers” for expressing concerns about the 2020 election, Democrats have now selected as their leader someone who consistently did the same following the 2016 presidential race.
After Republican nominee Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, Jeffries joined a chorus of Democrats who claimed that the victory was somehow illegitimate. In one tweet, he parroted unsubstantiated allegations of Russian collusion.
He also maligned the GOP for its supposed corruption in congressional races the same year, insisting that they were “stolen by rogue Republican operatives.”
More than a year after Trump’s inauguration, Jeffries tweeted that the “more we learn about the 2016 election the more ILLEGITIMATE it becomes,” adding that “America deserves to know whether we have a FAKE president in the oval office.”
Now that he is officially next in line to lead his party in the House, those prior statements are resurfacing as Republicans use Democrats’ talking points against them.
THREAD: Here are 8 times Hakeem Jeffries — the Democrats' new House leader — denied election results.
1. Jeffries said "the more we learn about 2016 election the more ILLEGITIMATE it becomes." pic.twitter.com/cjMYeKIsCs
— Kyle Martinsen (@KyleMartinsen_) November 30, 2022
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TN) highlighted the Democratic Party’s perceived hypocrisy on the subject of election denial.
“Hakeem Jeffries called the 2016 election ILLEGITIMATE,” he tweeted. “Why are Democrats electing an ELECTION DENIER to lead their party? Where is the media outrage labeling Jeffries a THREAT to Democracy?”
Last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that she would not seek a leadership position in the next session, claiming that “the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus.”
While House Democrats are clearly united behind her successor, it remains to be seen how effective Jeffries will be in a chamber that will be under GOP control.
Following his victory this week, the New York Democrat said: “Leadership is incredibly important. When we get an opportunity as diverse leaders to serve in positions of consequence, the most meaningful thing we can do in that space is an incredibly good job.”