Hakeem Jeffries is one of the House Managers in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. He’s also a U.S. Representative for New York’s 8th Congressional District, serving his fourth term in Congress. He’s represented the 8th congressional district since 2013, and served in the New York State Assembly from 2007 to 2012. Jeffries is one of the highest-ranking Democrats in the House who once called Trump a “Grand Wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” Read more about his political views here.
1. Jeffries, a Democrat, Said He Takes No Joy in the Impeachment Proceedings
Jeffries is a Democrat, but he has said that he takes no joy in the impeachment trial against Trump. “There was no joy in that ceremony. From the beginning through the end, Speaker Pelosi has been clear that we are going to proceed in a very serious and solemn and somber fashion,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner. Jeffries added, “We don’t dislike the President. But we do love America… And in America, no one is above the law.”
Jeffries has said that additional witnesses should be allowed during Trump’s impeachment trial if Sen. Mitch McConnell plans to follow the impeachment model used for former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, Fox News reported. This would include letting John Bolton testify. He noted that three additional witnesses were allowed to testify during Clinton’s trial who didn’t testify during the House hearings.
When asked about Republicans’ wanting to call Hunter Biden, Jeffries told Fox News: “Ultimately this is a decision that the 100 senators will make.”
2. Jeffries Does Not Like Trump, Calling Him a ‘Reality Host Masquerading as President’ & a ‘Grand Wizard’
Jeffries has made it clear that he doesn’t like Trump, New York Magazine reported. When hearing that some said Democrats were “treasonous” for not clapping for Trump during the State of the Union, he said: “How dare you lecture us about treason? This is not a dictatorship, it is a democracy and we do not have to stand for a reality-show host masquerading as president of the United States.”
He also said about Trump: “We have a hater in the White House, the birther-in-chief, the Grand Wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. One thing we have learned is that while Jim Crow may be dead, he has still got some nieces and nephews that are alive and well.”
When asked later about calling Trump a Grand Wizard, Jeffries said: “It is unfortunate that someone with the tendency to act like a racial arsonist now finds himself as president of the United States of America, who should be trying to bring us together instead of tearing us apart,” New York Magazine reported.
3. He’s the Fifth Highest-Ranking Democratic in the House
Jeffries is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Budget Committee, and he was elected chair of the House Democratic Caucus in November 2018, making him the fifth highest-ranking Democrat in the House, according to his bio. He has previously served as co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and as Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus.
But Jeffries is certainly not against bipartisan work. He was the lead Democratic sponsoring the FIRST STEP Act, which was a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill. It provides mental health counseling and vocational services, along with substance abuse treatment, to people in prison. He worked with Republican Doug Collins on the bill.
Jeffries has a bachelor’s in political sciences from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He has a master’s in public policy from Georgetown University, and received his law degree from the New York University School of Law.
4. He Endorsed Obama for President Over Clinton in 2007
In 2007, Jeffries endorsed Barack Obama for President and was a supporter of Obama over Hillary Clinton, even though Clinton was from his home state. He said Obama inspired him. Jeffries was called “Brooklyn’s Barack” in a 2015 article on Ozy.com about rising stars. However, Jeffries has said that despite sharing the same birthday as Obama, he has no desire to be President of the United States himself one day.
5. His Parents Believed in Helping the Less Fortunate, While His Uncle Lost a Job Over ‘Incendiary’ Comments
Jeffries comes from a family with political views across the spectrum. His mother, Laneda Jeffries, was a social worker and his dad, Marland Jeffries, was a state substance abuse counselor. He grew up in Crown Heights and said his parents gave him his “public service spirit,” Ozy.com reported. Meanwhile, The Local Fort Greene (of the New York Times) reported that his uncle, Leonard Jeffries, lost his job as professor because of his “the condemnation of Jews and a theory that whites are ‘ice people.'” New York Magazine said he lost his job because of incendiary comments on the matter. These are beliefs that Hakeem Jeffries has rejected. He told The Local that although he respects his uncle, he doesn’t follow his political beliefs. “Dr. Jeffries is from one generation and I am from another. We have adopted different approaches to addressing issues that confront society.”