Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on Sunday pushed back against a charge by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said on the Senate floor last week that the newly chosen Democratic leader was an “election denier” for questioning the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election results.
Jeffries, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” was asked by anchor George Stephanopoulos to respond to McConnell’s charge, saying that “you did say that history will never accept Donald Trump as a legitimate president, and the Republicans are making quite a big issue out of that. What is your response?
“Well, here’s the Republican playbook. Facts don’t matter. Hypocrisy is not a constraint to their behavior. And, in many cases, they believe that shamelessness is a superpower,” Jeffries said.
“My view of the situation has been pretty clear. I supported the certification of Donald Trump’s election. I attended his inauguration, even though there were many constituents and others across the country pushing me and others to do otherwise, and found ways to work with the Trump administration, being the lead Democrat in negotiating historic criminal justice reform. That track record speaks for itself,” Jeffries said.
“At the same time, I will never hesitate in criticizing the former president. I think I’m in good company there throughout the world,” he added.
In a Senate floor speech last week, McConnell said Jeffries was an “election denier” who called former President Trump’s victory in the 2016 election “illegitimate.”
The Democrat referred to Trump as a “fake president,” McConnell said, also accusing Jeffries of mounting “reckless attacks on our independent judiciary.”
McConnell’s comments came shortly after Jeffries was chosen as the next Democratic leader in the House.
Trump and his closest allies have repeatedly claimed that his 2020 election loss was “fraudulent,” with the former president suggesting on Saturday that election rules in the Constitution be terminated in order to overturn the results.
The Trump campaign mounted several legal challenges that ultimately failed in attempting to contest the election results, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, where Trump supporters attempted to halt Congress’s official Electoral College count affirming President Biden’s victory.
Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election determined by the intelligence community led several Democrats at the time to suggest Trump was not legitimately elected. A special counsel investigation failed to find enough evidence of collusion between Trump, his associates and Russia but found that Russia did interfere in that year’s election.