Issues

Clinton Supporter Hakeem Jeffries: Bernie Sanders Functions as ‘Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the National Rifle Association’

Hillary Clinton supporter Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) called Bernie Sanders a "wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Rifle Association" Wednesday on Meet The Press Daily, surprising MSNBC host Chuck Todd.

Sanders has a career "D-" rating from the NRA, indicating strong support for gun control legislation, but Clinton has repeatedly tried to show she is to the left of him on the issue.

Although Todd asked Jeffries how, as an African American, he felt about a racially charged skit that Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio performed over the weekend, Jeffries repeated Clinton's excuse that it was de Blasio's idea and quickly pivoted to criticism of Sanders.

"Secretary Clinton has been right on the issues as it relates to a whole host of concerns, particularly dealing with the gun violence epidemic that continues to sweep many of the communities that I represent, and many communities of color all over the country," Jeffries said. "We know that Senator Bernie Sanders has effectively functioned as a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Rifle Association for the entirety of his career, both as mayor, a member of the House and the Senate.

"Voting five times against background checks, voting twice to shield gun manufacturers from liability, voting essentially to—"

An incredulous Todd broke in.

"Congressman, I understand that you're against those votes. Can you really refer to him as a wholly owned subsidiary of the NRA?" Todd asked. "Do you really believe the NRA thinks that Bernie Sanders is just one of their guys?"

Jeffries stated turnabout was fair play, saying if people are going to "associate wrongfully Secretary Clinton with Wall Street interests when she spent her career actually fighting against Wall Street interests," then Sanders should be held to account for his gun positions.

"I think we need to fairly scrutinize the fact that Bernie Sanders has consistently stood on the side of the NRA on vote after vote, including the liability one, which the NRA said is the most important vote to that organization in a generation," he said.