Black lawmaker calls Sanders 'presumptuous' on race relations

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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), a Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonDems seek more early voting hours in key NC counties Clinton camp on leaked audio: She's fighting for millennials WATCH LIVE: Trump speaks to supporters in Pennsylvania MORE supporter and Congressional Black Caucus whip, voiced doubts Friday about presidential rival Bernie SandersBernie SandersClinton camp on leaked audio: She's fighting for millennials WATCH LIVE: Trump speaks to supporters in Pennsylvania Trump to attack Clinton for past comments about Sanders supporters 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."

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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 ObamaLong-running US efforts on the ballot with Colombian peace vote What Trump and Obama have in common Donald Trump will make our economy great again 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.”