Why Republicans’ Assaults on Hakeem Jeffries Are Deceptive


In current days, some high Republicans have known as Rep. Hakeem Jeffries an “election denier,” beginning a line of assault in opposition to the New York Democrat after he was chosen to steer his celebration as Home Minority Chief subsequent 12 months.

“The newly elected incoming chief of Home Democrats is a previous election denier who mainly stated the 2016 election was quote ‘illegitimate,’” Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell stated on the Senate ground on Thursday, “and advised that we had a quote ‘pretend president.’”

The Republican Nationwide Committee’s (RNC) Twitter account additionally posted a tweet on Wednesday referring to Jeffries as an “election denier.”

McConnell and the RNC are referring to feedback Jeffries made within the wake of the 2016 election of President Donald Trump. In tweets, information interviews, and Home hearings, Jeffries known as to query the legitimacy of Trump’s election due to Russia’s makes an attempt to intervene within the 2016 race, and accused Trump of colluding with Russia to win the election. (A particular counsel investigation that concluded in 2019 didn’t discover enough proof that Trump or his marketing campaign conspired with Russia.)

The time period “election denier” has taken on a specific which means, nevertheless, after Trump’s failed re-election marketing campaign. The phrase has come to be related to Republicans who declare the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, assert with out proof there was fraud in 2020 voting, and solid doubt on safe voting methods—claims that result in the lethal January 6, 2021 riot on the U.S. Capitol.

Calling Jeffries an “election denier’ is deceptive and conflates totally different points. “Casting unfounded doubt on the end result of an election is irresponsible when both celebration does it,” says Rachel Orey, affiliate director of the Elections Venture on the Bipartisan Coverage Middle, a nonpartisan Washington suppose tank. “However I believe it’s essential to keep in mind that the tradition round elections was fairly totally different earlier than 2020.”

Previous to the 2020 election, many Democrats pointed to proof of Russian interference within the 2016 election, the truth that Trump gained the Electoral Faculty however didn’t win the favored vote, and used speaking factors calling Trump “not my President.” However the actions taken by Trump and his supporters main as much as 2020 election and after have been unprecedented. Trump stoked false conspiracies of voter fraud, filed greater than 60 election-related lawsuits, and pressured officers to intervene with election outcomes. Since then, current polls have proven that greater than half of Republicans consider the 2020 election was stolen.

On Twitter, the RNC has known as Jeffries an “election denier” and shared threads, screenshots, and video clips of Jeffries calling the 2016 election of Trump “illegitimate.” Its web site additionally accommodates a weblog submit known as “13 instances Hakeem Jeffries denied election outcomes.” Jeffries’ claims largely centered across the proof of Russian interference within the 2016 election and Robert Mueller’s particular counsel investigation into whether or not Trump or his marketing campaign colluded with Russia.

Previous to Trump’s January 2017 inauguration, Jeffries advised MSNBC that there was a “cloud of illegitimacy” across the election, and stated Russians, the FBI, and the “pretend information business” interfered with the 2016 election. “[Trump] didn’t win the favored vote. He misplaced the favored vote. Nearly all of the Individuals didn’t vote for him, they voted in opposition to him,” Jeffries added. “The notion {that a} international energy may have interfered with American democracy in a method that would have altered the outcomes is a singular risk to the Republic and that’s a severe factor for every member to have to think about and to weigh.”

“The extra we find out about 2016 election the extra ILLEGITIMATE it turns into,” Jeffries tweeted in February 2018. “America deserves to know whether or not we have now a FAKE President within the Oval Workplace #RussianInterference.”

Jeffries has up to now not publicly commented on Republicans resurfacing his previous feedback.

“This present day, it’s extremely straightforward for public servants to submit one thing on-line, and a pair years down the street have it come come again up in public discourse,” Orey says. “However I believe that as the character of threats to democracy shift, all of us have to be vigilant and ensure that we’re inserting democracy first and politics second.”

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Write to Jasmine Aguilera at jasmine.aguilera@time.com.

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