Black lawmaker calls Sanders 'presumptuous' on race relations
© Getty Images

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE supporter and Congressional Black Caucus whip, voiced doubts Friday about presidential rival Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight MORE's ability to heal race relations in the United States.

"I think it seemed a bit presumptuous to me to conclude that Bernie Sanders in the twilight of his career was going to be able to be the great healer in race relations," Jeffries said in an interview with CNN's "New Day."

ADVERTISEMENT
During Thursday night's Democratic debate, Sanders was asked if he believed that race relations would be better under his presidency.

“Absolutely, because what we will do is instead of give tax breaks to millionaires, we will create millions of jobs for low-income kids so they are not hanging out on street corners," he responded.

The Vermont senator was criticized for what was seen as an implicit swipe at President Obama.

"Now Sanders is promising to do more to improve race relations than President Obama?" Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted during the debate.

Jeffries piled on Friday morning, saying that Sanders didn't give enough credit to the progress Obama has made.

"I thought that was a very simplistic answer to a very complicated problem," Jeffries said. 

"Under the Obama administration, we've had 71 consecutive months of private sector job creation. More than 14 million jobs have been created. He's done a tremendous job — meaning President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight Iran's president warns US will pay 'high cost' if Trump ditches nuclear deal MORE. But we still have some issues related to race relations that have to be tackled."
 
The Congressional Black Caucus PAC has endorsed Clinton, though the caucus itself has yet to back a candidate in the race.
 
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), perhaps the most prominent CBC member due to his activism during the civil rights movement, also called into question Sanders's commitment to fighting racial injustice, saying he wasn't familiar with the senator's involvement in the civil rights movement.

“To be very frank, I never saw him, I never met him,” Lewis said. “I chaired the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years, from 1963-1966. I was involved in sit-ins, Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the March from Selma to Montgomery ... but I met Hillary Clinton, I met President Clinton.”