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

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Pelosi says House will review Senate coronavirus stimulus package Pelosi says House will draft its own coronavirus funding bill MORE on Tuesday stood by the tweet his leadership office sent calling out freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWhat the coronavirus reveals about the race grievance industry Democrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Overnight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims 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.

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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 DavidsConservative women's group unveils new congressional endorsements Here are the lawmakers who have self-quarantined as a precaution Hillicon Valley: US hits Huawei with new charges | Judge orders Pentagon to halt 'war cloud' work amid Amazon challenge | IRS removes guidance on Fortnite game currency 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) GottheimerInfrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Pelosi floats undoing SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus bill NJ lawmaker tests negative for COVID-19 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 PelosiWe need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Florida Democrat hits administration over small business loan rollout The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update 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.”