House Democrats on Wednesday elected Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) as minority leader after he repeatedly denied the legitimacy of the 2016 election.
Jeffries, 52, a lawyer from Brooklyn, will now lead the House Democrats after Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stepped aside earlier this month to make way for a “new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus.”
Jeffries ran unopposed for the position and made history as one of the first election deniers to win a political party’s caucus in either chamber. Jeffries is also the first black congressman to become a minority leader.
The New York congressman was first elected to Congress in 2013 and has served as the chair of the House Democrat Caucus since 2019.
“This is a moment of transition,” Jeffries told reporters Tuesday night. “We stand on the shoulders of giants, but are also looking forward to being able to do what’s necessary at this moment to advance the issues.”
At least nine times has Jeffries denied the legitimacy of United States elections. He falsely claimed the 2016 election was “illegitimate,” and that it “artificially” made former President Donald Trump president.
In 2019, Jeffries falsely claimed there was a “cloud of illegitimacy that continues to hang over” the Trump administration and that Democrats should “try to figure out what the heck happened.” In the same year, Jeffries again falsely claimed “the cloud of illegitimacy hanging over 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. grows stronger by the day.”
In 2020, he tweeted Trump’s presidency will never be accepted as legitimate. “History will never accept” Trump “as a legitimate President,” he said.
Jeffries’s election-denying rhetoric matches Pelosi’s own position on the 2016 election. In 2017, Pelosi falsely claimed that “[o]ur election was hijacked. There is no question.”
Jeffries will now try to manage the Democrat caucus with the help of top lieutenants. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), who won election as minority whip, and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), who won the third-most powerful position as Democrat Caucus chairman.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.