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

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesJeffries on Senate coronavirus bill: 'Totally irrelevant' Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Brawls on Capitol Hill on Barr and COVID-19 MORE on Tuesday stood by the tweet his leadership office sent calling out freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMichelle Obama, Sanders, Kasich to be featured on first night of Democratic convention: report Democratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Ethics Committee orders Tlaib to refund campaign ,800 for salary payments 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 DavidsAmanda Adkins wins GOP primary to challenge Rep. Sharice Davids Democrats go big on diversity with new House recruits The Hill's Coronavirus Report: INOVIO R&D Chief Kate Broderick 'completely confident' world will develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine; GOP boxed in on virus negotiations 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 Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention New Jersey Rep. Gottheimer wins House primary New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries 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 PelosiWhite House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Sunday shows - Trump coronavirus executive orders reverberate Pelosi: 'Of course there's room for compromise' on 0-per-week unemployment benefit 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.”