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Press Release


Brooklyn, NY – Today, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries joined NBC’s Meet the Press with Peter Alexander where he highlighted that while extreme MAGA Republicans are once again bending the knee to Donald Trump following his recent criminal conviction, House Democrats and President Biden will continue to fight for hardworking American taxpayers.

PETER ALEXANDER: Joining me now is House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat from New York. Leader Jeffries, welcome back to Meet the Press.

LEADER JEFFRIES: Good morning.

PETER ALEXANDER: I want to start by asking you about this historic verdict. President Biden opened his remarks on Friday saying it is irresponsible for anyone to say the verdict was rigged just because they do not like it. This crime was more than eight years old. There are questions about the validity of the legal theory, untested legal theory, that was used to prosecute it. Would this case has been brought against anyone other than former President Trump?

LEADER JEFFRIES: Yes, of course. This verdict in the case of People v. Trump was a validation of the American judicial system. Donald Trump was entitled to the presumption of innocence. He received it. Donald Trump was entitled to a trial by a jury of his peers. He received it. Donald Trump was entitled to a vigorous defense. He received it. 12 jurors, 12 American citizens, after five weeks of a trial, evaluated the facts, the evidence and the law and came to a unanimous decision as it relates to convicting Donald Trump on 34 felony counts. That is an affirmation of the American judicial system. This is America. We are not a system that is occupied by a monarch or a king or a dictator. We are a democracy and in a democracy, no one is above the law.

PETER ALEXANDER: Congressman Jeffries, Donald Trump’s attorney, as you certainly heard, said that they will appeal the verdict if it is overturned on appeal. Will you accept that result?


PETER ALEXANDER: Simple as that. Let me ask you about Thursday’s verdict then. In the time since, the Trump campaign claims that it has raised tens of millions of dollars. How concerned should Democrats be that this conviction will help Donald Trump get reelected?

LEADER JEFFRIES: Well, this election will present a clear contrast between President Biden and Democrats in the House and the Senate, who will always continue to put people over politics. Extreme MAGA Republicans are going to continue to lie for Donald Trump. President Biden and Democrats are going to continue to solve problems for hardworking American taxpayers. Extreme MAGA Republicans will continue to lie for Donald Trump. President Biden and Democrats are going to work on delivering real results, as has been the case for the last three and a half years. And we’re going to see that extreme MAGA Republicans will continue to lie for Donald Trump and present no real vision for dealing with the issues of importance for the American people. That’s the contrast. And I’d rather be on President Biden’s side of that contrast than on the extreme MAGA Republican side.

PETER ALEXANDER: So I want to drill down on that with you and excuse my interruption with the delay and the satellite. Those close to the Biden campaign tell me that Mr. Trump’s conviction is not going to be a central message of this campaign. Is that the right approach?

LEADER JEFFRIES: I think the right approach is to make clear that real progress has been made on behalf of the American people. Because of the leadership of President Biden, we were able to rescue the economy from a once-in-a-century pandemic, put shots in arms, money in pockets, kids back in school.

PETER ALEXANDER: Should this be a central issue, though?

LEADER JEFFRIES: I think that the issues of importance to the American people, such as the progress that has been made and the need to continue to build upon that progress and finish the job by working on continuing to build a healthy economy from the middle out and the bottom up, lowering housing costs, addressing the challenges at the border and ending price gouging will be central to the message that President Biden and House Democrats articulate moving forward. Can the extreme MAGA Republicans point to a single issue where they’ve actually made progress for the American people? A single issue? They cannot. And so, as a result, what we see are conspiracy theories being spewed, at the direction of Donald Trump.

PETER ALEXANDER: Sir let me ask you about another question that we’ll be watching and will make headlines this week. Hunter Biden, the President’s son, goes on trial for gun charges beginning tomorrow. President Biden said last year, ‘My son has done nothing wrong.’ The Wall Street Journal, as you see here, the editorial board said at the time, ‘That’s a highly inappropriate message from the President. He’s essentially telling prosecutors that they are wrong to bring an indictment because Hunter is innocent of any criminal behavior.’ Why was it appropriate for President Biden to publicly comment on his son’s case?

LEADER JEFFRIES: President Biden commented as a loving father, as I would hope any loving father would do. Hunter Biden, of course, is entitled, as was Donald Trump, to the presumption of innocence and to a trial by a jury of his peers. And this Justice Department is going to proceed in that fashion, present the facts and the law and then we’ll all have to wait for a determination that is made by a jury as to Hunter Biden’s guilt or innocence.

PETER ALEXANDER: Let me ask you about what’s been taking place overseas right now. In news that was made just this morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel just accepted the invitation from you and your congressional leadership colleagues to address a joint session of Congress. We don’t have a date for that yet. But the Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, recently called Netanyahu, ‘a major obstacle to peace.’ Do you agree with Schumer’s assessment that Netanyahu is a major obstacle to peace?

LEADER JEFFRIES: It’s my hope that the Prime Minister, upon his arrival in the United States Congress, will address the Biden peace plan that has been put forth that I think comprehensively provides a way forward to bring the hostages home, to end the conflict in Gaza, to allow for a just and lasting peace to be put into place, which is what every reasonable person should want. Peace.

PETER ALEXANDER: Is he a major obstacle to peace, though, sir, to my question?

LEADER JEFFRIES: It’s my hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu, consistent with what has been done by the Israeli War Cabinet, which is to unanimously adopt the Biden peace plan, will conduct himself in a manner consistent with that Israeli War Cabinet. It’s on Hamas, as far as I can tell, as President Biden indicated, to accept the peace plan so we can end this conflict and move forward to a just and lasting peace.

PETER ALEXANDER: So you don’t have any criticism of Netanyahu’s conducting of this war, to this point?

LEADER JEFFRIES: I think that there will be ample room to be able to assess what was done right, what may have been done wrong. I certainly criticized the Israeli airstrike from earlier this week. It was a tragedy. It should not have happened and we mourn for the loss of people.

PETER ALEXANDER: Leader Jeffries, I want to ask you about the President’s challenges, specifically with Black voters. It has been a focus of the campaign for the last several weeks. As you know well, President Biden promised legislation on police reform, on voting rights. He failed to deliver on both. Why do you think he is struggling with Black voters right now, in particular Black men?

LEADER JEFFRIES: Well, as I indicated earlier, Peter, President Biden does have a track record of success with respect to increasing homeownership opportunities, lowering the unemployment rate within the Black community to its lowest level in recorded history, record investment with respect to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, increasing entrepreneurial opportunities. But of course, there is more that needs to be done, and that will be part of the vision that is articulated for a second term. That we recognize, we want to continue to promote entrepreneurship with Black men and throughout America amongst people of every race, promote homeownership and promote the creation of wealth so that everyone has a fair shot at the American dream.

PETER ALEXANDER: So you acknowledge he has some work to do with the Black community. Before I let you go, I want to ask a question that I asked your Republican colleagues as well, which is will you vote to certify the results of the 2024 election no matter who wins?

LEADER JEFFRIES: Certainly, that has always been the case because in America, the peaceful transfer of power is sacrosanct. That’s one of the reasons why many Americans, Democrats, independents and traditional Republicans, have been troubled by the election denialism or the denial that we’ve seen coming from the other side of the aisle. I’m hopeful that this will be a campaign focused on the issues. And Democrats are going to continue to articulate our vision for solving problems for hardworking American taxpayers to create a bright future for everyone.

PETER ALEXANDER: Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York. Mr. Leader, we appreciate your time. Thank you for joining us.

Full press interview can be watched here