Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) on Friday tore into Steve Bannon, telling MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson that the chief strategist to Donald Trump is “a stone cold racist and white supremacy sympathizer,” who should not be in the White House.
Jeffries joined Jackson to discuss Trump’s wide-raging press conference, wherein the president asked April Ryan if members of the Congressional Black Caucus are “friends of [hers]” and encouraging the black journalist to “set up the meeting” between himself and the assembly.
The president also insisted Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) backed out of a scheduled meeting within over political concerns, a claim Cummings emphatically denies.
Jeffries said “as of yet,” the president has not asked for a meeting, adding “it may have changed in the immediate aftermath of that press conference.”
“But the Congressional Black Caucus under the leadership of our chairman, Rep. Cedrick Richmond (D-LA), sent a detailed letter to Donald Trump on Jan. 19 laying out the issues that we’d like to talk to him about, if he is, in fact, interested in working on issues of importance to back America.”
Jeffries said he’s not referring to “just inner city black America” (Trump often conflates black people and “inner cities” when discussing “Black America”) noting, “there are African Americans who live in the suburbs” and are concerned with a “whole host of issues” including mass incarceration, economy, and the Voting Rights Act.
Asked about Trump’s request that Ryan “set up the meeting” with the CBC, Jeffries called the exchange “very strange,” adding Trump has done a lot of “very strange” things as president.
Still, Jeffries said the CBC is “looking forward to an open dialogue.”
“Bannon, however, should not be in the room,” he added. Asked why the chief strategist should not be apart of the conversation, Jeffries did not hold back.
“Well listen, he’s a stone cold racist and white supremacy sympathizer,” Jeffries said. “It’d be hard for me to participate in any meeting with Steve Bannon that normalizes his presence in the White House.”
Watch the video below, via MSNBC:
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on MSNBC: Steve Bannon is “a stone cold racist and a white supremacist sympathizer”. pic.twitter.com/AGly3r4SYg
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 17, 2017