Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell broadsided his Democratic House counterpart Thursday, painting Rep. Hakeem Jeffries as an “election denier” for previously questioning former President Donald Trump’s 2016 win amid claims of Russian interference.
Mr. Jeffries, a New York Democrat who was elected to succeed Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the No. 1 Democrat in the chamber, has said in the past that Mr. Trump was an “illegitimate” president and that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority has “zero legitimacy.”
“The newly elected incoming leader of House Democrats is a past election denier who basically said the 2016 election was ‘illegitimate’ and suggested that we had a ‘fake president,’” Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said in floor remarks. “He‘s also mounted reckless attacks on our independent judiciary and said that justices he didn’t like have ‘zero legitimacy.’”
One of Mr. Jeffries’ tweets from 2018, for example, read that the “more we learn about 2016 the more ILLEGITIMATE it becomes” and that “America deserves to know whether we have a FAKE President in the Oval Office.”
The public critique of Mr. Jeffries, which came the day after Democrats elected him as Democratic House leader, previews the likely tense working relationship that is to come between a GOP-led House and a Democratic-controlled Senate.
“It has been one of the big unfortunate ironies of the past several years,” Mr. McConnell said. “Many of the same individuals and institutions on the political left have spent the years 2017 through 2020 yelling about the importance of norms and institutions have themselves not hesitated to undermine our institutions when they’re unhappy with the given outcome.”
The Republican National Committee also branded him an “election denier” just moments after he was elected to Democrats’ top leadership post.