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

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings House chairman: Pompeo not complying with impeachment inquiry Sunday shows - Second whistleblower grabs spotlight MORE on Tuesday stood by the tweet his leadership office sent calling out freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders 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 DavidsHere are the Democrats who aren't co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban Centrist House Democrats press for committees to follow pay-go rule Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff to leave her office 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) GottheimerThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies Trump pushed for her ouster No Labels' fight against partisanship The Hill's Morning Report - US coastline readies for Hurricane Dorian to make landfall 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 PelosiTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Trump lashes out at Pelosi as she visits Jordan to discuss Syria Thomas D'Alesandro III, brother of Nancy Pelosi, dies at 90 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.”