Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y., expressed optimism that Democrats can be united after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi retires, saying party diversity will remain one of his forces under his potential leadership.
“The thing about us…is that while we can sometimes have loud conversations about how we can make progress for the American people, what we’ve seen is that under the leadership of the president Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Jim Clyburn, we’ve consistently been able to come together,” Jeffries said Sunday during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Jeffries’ comments come two days after announcing his candidacy to become Democratic House leader, replacing Pelosi, who announced his retirement last week after two decades in the Democratic leadership.
“Today I write to humbly ask for your support for the House Democratic leader as we prepare to meet the moment again,” Jeffries wrote in a letter to fellow House Democrats. “Our caucus must unite with purpose, communicate with discipline, legislate with precision, and partner with the Biden administration to vigorously address the ongoing challenges affecting our constituents.”
HAKEEM JEFFRIES ANNOUNCES OFFER FOR DEMOCRATIC HOUSE LEADER
Jeffries has so far met with no opposition for his candidacy for the leadership of the party, which allowed him to be easily elected to this position.
But Jeffries faces challenges under the new rule, with CNN host Jake Tapper noting that the would-be party leader has at times clashed with progressive members of his caucus such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y. .
Jeffries responded by expressing optimism about his ability to bring together the party’s various factions, arguing that Democratic diversity is one of the party’s strengths.
“I have great respect for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and every member of the House Democratic Caucus,” Jeffries said. “The majesty of the House Democratic Caucus is that we are so incredibly diverse, in terms of race, gender, religion and sexual orientation, region, life experience and even ideology, from leftists to progressives , New Dems, Blue Dogs, Moderates and Centrist Democrats, all points in between.”
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Jeffries also highlighted his time as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, where he said he focused on bringing party members together.
“I’ve had the opportunity in the last two terms to be chairman of the House Democratic Caucus,” Jeffries said. “And my goal has really been to work hard to bring people together, to legislate with precision, to deliver messages with discipline, to communicate our values.”