Skip to content
Press Release


Hartford, CT – Today, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries appeared on MSNBC’s The Weekend where he emphasized that House Democrats will continue to push back against Republican efforts to jam their extreme right-wing ideology down the throats of the American people. 

Michael Steele: Joining us now, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Leader, it’s a great pleasure to welcome you.

Symone Sanders-Townsend: Yes. Thank you for being here this morning, sir.

Leader Jeffries: Good morning. Great to be with you. Thank you.

Symone Sanders-Townsend: Good to see you. Thank you for getting up with us. Okay. Leader Jeffries, I want to start by asking you about this. There’s this headline in The New Republic that reads that Hakeem Jeffries has opened the door to replacing Biden. It notes that you didn’t answer directly when asked whether President Biden was the Democratic Party’s best messenger. I know that you posted on social media Saturday that ‘A setback is nothing more than a setup for a comeback. Vote.’ Would you-would you like to respond to this assertion that you are-you may have opened the door, like, where-where are you? Just make it plain for folks, please.

Leader Jeffries: Thanks for asking that question. I think it was an unnecessarily sensational headline. But that’s the moment that we exist in. I’ve been very clear that it was an underwhelming performance on Thursday during the debate, as President Biden and his campaign have acknowledged. It certainly was a setback. But of course I believe a setback is nothing more than a setup for a comeback. And the reality is Joe Biden has confronted and had to come back from tragedy, from trials, from tribulations throughout his entire life. So the moment that we’re in right now is a comeback moment and it’s going to require all of us to lean in, articulate a forward looking message as to why the Democratic platform is best equipped to deal with the challenges facing the American people, beginning with making sure that every single person in this country has economic opportunity and the ability to experience the American dream.

Alicia Menendez: In part, what we’re talking about are Members of your Caucus who’ve been speaking with the press on-on background about their questions about President Biden’s candidacy. What do you say to Members of your own Caucus who are expressing this concern?

Leader Jeffries: Well, we’re in the process of having conversations with various parts of the House Democratic Caucus. That’s ongoing. That will continue. We are in recess next week for the 4th of July holiday, so we’ll have to have those conversations over the phone and virtually, and we’ll continue to do that. But one thing should be clear. There is a big difference between our view of the world, the country and the future, and the extreme MAGA Republican view. We know that President Biden is a good man, an honorable man and a hard-working family man. We’re running against a con man who lied his way through the entire debate on Thursday. Lied about COVID, lied about the economy, lied about Roe v. Wade, lied about January 6, lied about prescription drug pricing, lied about veterans. It was extraordinary. So this is a dangerous moment that we confront. It’s an all hands on deck moment. We’ve got to lean in in articulating that clear contrast on the economy, on democracy, on reproductive freedom. And that’s the mission that’s in front of us over the next few days, next few weeks.

Michael Steele: Speaker, I want to shift gears–

Symone Sanders-Townsend: Oh, you called him Speaker. Look at you, look at you forecasting.

Michael Steele: Where’d that come from? Where’d that come from? Leader Jeffries, I want to shift gears a little bit and talk a little bit about the Chevron ruling this past week, where basically you had Justice Elena Kagan in her dissenting opinion note that the Court is seizing power for itself from federal agencies, where now, the Court will be the arbiter of what works, doesn’t work, what the regulations should say or not say. How are you assessing that ruling in light of congressional power? Because this really is, in many respects, sir, a pull to the Court, where the Court is going to decide what the EPA rules should be, or the Court’s going to decide what some of the financial markets, how they should look. They’re not experts. How does Congress respond to Chevron?

Leader Jeffries: Well the Court has once again demonstrated that it is part of a right-wing effort to jam their extreme ideology down the throats of the American people in ways that are increasingly becoming undemocratic because, Michael, as you’ve pointed out that Congress, particularly the House, designed as the institution closest to the people, and the Senate, of course, elected to be representatives of the American people, should have the ability to determine and set public policy outcomes that can then be interpreted or put into place by the executive branch, not unelected judges with no accountability because the constitutional fabric gives them lifetime tenure. And so, I think we’re going to have to make sure that, as we proceed moving forward with consumer protections, combating the climate crisis, protecting the health and the safety and the economic well-being of the American people, that we proceed with the precision necessary to avoid extreme right-wing judges on the federal bench misinterpreting our intentions and thereby undermining our ability to look out for the American people.

Symone Sanders-Townsend: Leader Jeffries I just—oh I’m sorry Alicia.

Alicia Menendez: No, go ahead Symone.

Symone Sanders-Townsend: Leader Jeffries, I mean, just along these lines of the Supreme Court, are you concerned about what they could potentially do on Monday? That they have held this immunity decision about, not just President Trump, but the presidency writ large until the end of the term? Because it seems to me that they’ve either decided that the president can be a king or queen, and they just wanted to wait and tell us until the last moment, or they decided that the president is not a king, nor a queen, and they don’t want Donald Trump to know until the last possible moment.

Leader Jeffries: Yeah, it’s very concerning. And I understand why there’s a high degree of anxiety, because this should be crystal clear. America is not a monarchy. We’re not an autocracy. We don’t have kings or rulers or dictators. We are a democracy. In a democracy, one principle should be clear. No one is above the law. That includes presidents and former presidents, and certainly includes Donald Trump. And so I’m hopeful that at least five justices on the Supreme Court will make the right decision, so we can proceed in a manner consistent with the framers of the Constitution who broke free from a monarchy to create something different, a nation anchored in the rule of law.

Alicia Menendez: Leader Jeffries, to get to the stakes of this upcoming election, there is a new ad from the Biden-Harris campaign. It was released this Friday and it really tries to draw this contrast. Take a look.

Donald Trump (recording): Suckers and losers. On January 6, we were respected all over the world. They have taken black jobs. Put three great Supreme Court Justices on the Court, and they happened to vote in favor of killing Roe v. Wade. It’s been a great thing. My retribution’s going to be success.

Alicia Menendez: So much to choose from there, Leader Jeffries. But why don’t we start with the concept of a Black job? What does that mean to you?

Leader Jeffries: I have no idea. But we know that Donald Trump is the quintessential racial arsonist. He can’t help himself. And so, sometimes he tells on himself, and that occurred on Thursday. What I do know as well is that under the leadership of President Joe Biden, we’ve seen record job creation for the American people, including for African American women and men across the board. We’ve seen record investment in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions. And we’ve seen record creation of small business and entrepreneurial opportunities. So, President Joe Biden and Democrats have an expansive view of an economy that works for everyone. And that includes the opportunity, of course, to be part of the middle class and to go beyond the middle class.


Alicia Menendez: Well, let’s talk Leader Jeffries about how that extremism shows up in this GOP spending bill. So here’s part of their wish list. Labor, Education, Health and Human Services cuts $600 million to erect a wall along the southern border. We know how well that went last time. Prohibit funding for military service members to travel for reproductive health care and, quote, drag queen activities. These are not serious people, Leader Jeffries.

Leader Jeffries: These are very unserious people. And of course, it’s a House Republican Conference that in many ways is being run by individuals like Marjorie Taylor Greene. She continues to drive the agenda. That’s one of the only ways that you can reasonably explain the extreme nature of the spending bills that are highly partisan, and that House Republicans are putting on the floor of the People’s House, because, as was mentioned earlier, we reached an agreement in May of last year connected to the Bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act. Yet, House Republicans have walked away from that agreement at the moment. They want to march us toward a government shutdown. They want to cut $75 billion out of non-defense discretionary spending that will hurt working families, hurt the middle class, hurt our seniors, certainly hurt children and veterans, particularly when it comes to nutritional assistance, educational opportunities and health care. Their budget framework is a disaster, and we’re going to point that out over the next few weeks, next few months and make sure that clear contrast is drawn for the American people. We will continue to put People Over Politics as House Democrats.

Alicia Menendez: Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, thank you so much for being with us.

Full interview can be watched here.