Jeffries defends Democratic Caucus tweet slamming Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesAppetite for Democratic term limits fizzling out Jeffries dismisses optics: We wanted testimony from Mueller, not Robert De Niro Live coverage: Mueller testifies before Congress MORE on Tuesday stood by the tweet his leadership office sent calling out freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts The latest victims of the far-left's environmental zealotry: Long Islanders Ocasio-Cortez brushes off Trump tweet claiming she is 'fuming' over Tlaib, Omar attention MORE’s chief of staff for his Twitter attacks on a moderate freshman Democrat. 

“The tweet speaks for itself,” Jeffries, a New York Democrat like Ocasio-Cortez, told reporters after a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, declining to elaborate on whether he personally sanctioned and supports the tweet.

ADVERTISEMENT

Several Democratic lawmakers have privately told The Hill that Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, should be fired for tweeting that votes from freshman Rep. Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsOcasio-Cortez chief of staff to leave her office The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller testimony gives Trump a boost as Dems ponder next steps House Democrats delete tweets attacking each other, pledge to unify MORE (D-Kan.), a gay, Native American mixed-martial arts fighter, “enable a racist system” and that the large bloc of moderate Democrats are modern-day segregationists because they backed a Senate border-aid bill.  

But Jeffries, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, declined to say whether he believed that Chakrabarti should be ousted, saying that is Ocasio-Cortez's, or "AOC's," decision.

“That’s a personnel matter that I’ll leave for her to resolve,” said Jeffries, the No. 5 House Democrat in leadership. “I have great respect for every single member of the House Democratic Caucus, from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to [moderate Rep.] Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerAssault weapons ban picks up steam in Congress The 11 House Dems from Trump districts who support assault weapons ban Democrats call for Pelosi to cut recess short to address white nationalism MORE and everyone in between.”

The Twitter spat has poured fuel on a firestorm raging between Ocasio-Cortez and her progressive allies and Democrats in the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, New Democrat Coalition and Problem Solvers Caucus. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Pelosi hits Trump, Netanyahu for 'weakness' amid tensions over Omar and Tlaib In Hong Kong, the need for peaceful persistence MORE (D-Calif.), Jeffries and other leaders have not been happy about Ocasio-Cortez's top aide taking to Twitter to attack Democratic lawmakers, even as many of the offending tweets have been deleted. 

On Friday night, the internecine conflict took another twist when the House Democratic Caucus’s official Twitter account, controlled by Jeffries, went after Chakrabarti for a weeks-old deleted tweet attacking Davids. 

“Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color? … She is a phenomenal new member who flipped a red seat blue,” the tweet said. “Keep Her Name Out Of Your Mouth.”

Asked if the Democrats’ official Twitter account would continue to be used to call out individual lawmakers and staffers in the future, Jeffries replied: “The House Dem Caucus will continue to highlight the efforts by members to work on the kitchen-table, pocket-book issues that are important to the American people.”