Jeffries Derides Trump as 'Grand Wizard' During MLK Event

January 22, 2019

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) called the president a "burglar" and alluded to the Klu Klux Klan in calling him a "grand wizard" during a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial event Monday.

Jeffries, the House Democratic Caucus chair, directed the insults at President Donald Trump as he spoke to a crowd of NAACP supporters.

"We have a hater in the White House, a burglar-in-chief, the grand wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," he said, referencing the head position of the white supremacist KKK.

Jeffries has previously implied Trump was a member of the KKK but declined to call him racist. In a CNN interview, he said the president's subdued response to the white supremacist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia suggested to many that "the president of the United States chose to pull the sheets off and reveal himself in terms of his tendency to be a racial arsonist."

In response, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asked whether he considered the president a bigot. "Are you suggesting he's a racist?" Blitzer asked.

"No, he's a racial arsonist," he replied. Jeffries said he would not call the president names. "I'm not going to stand here and call him a racist or not," he said at the time.

Now, however, names have made their way into Jeffries' rhetoric. During the same event, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) called Trump "racist."

Jeffries, seen by some in his caucus as insufficiently progressive, weathered a challenge from Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.) for his leadership position. In December, Politico reported that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) sought to unseat the high-ranking Democrat. The freshman congresswoman challenged Politico's reporting, saying it contained "false information."