'A toxic presence in the Party': Ocasio-Cortez joins calls for Jay Jacobs to resign
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Shutterstock)

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday joined progressive colleagues and activists in calling for the resignation or removal of New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs after he compared India Walton—a Black woman running for mayor of Buffalo—to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

"India Walton is the Democratic nominee for mayor of Buffalo. No amount of racist misogyny from the old boys' club is going to change that," Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted.

"This is just his latest incident," she added. "Jacobs is a toxic presence in the party and his continued post as chair is shameful."

Jacobs had sparked outrage Monday after offering a perplexing explanation of why he has not endorsed Walton, a democratic socialist and community activist.

"Let's take a scenario, very different, where David Duke—you remember him, the grand wizard of the KKK—he moves to New York, he becomes a Democrat, he runs for mayor in the city of Rochester, which is a low primary turnout, and he wins the Democratic line," he said. "I have to endorse David Duke? I don't think so."

Although Jacobs later apologized for the comparison and acknowledged that Walton and Duke were "not in the same category," condemnation was swift and strong.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called Jacobs' analogy "outrageous and beyond absurd," while U.S. Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones—both New York Democrats—joined progressive activists in demanding his ouster, with Jones lambasting his continued chairmanship a "shame to the party."

Rana Abdelhamid, a democratic socialist running for the 12th Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), said in a statement Monday that "from repeatedly attacking young women of color running for office, to protecting disgraced former [Democratic] Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Jay Jacobs is part of the problem."

"It's clear," added Abdelhamid, "that Jacobs has no respect for the will of the voters, and that he does not speak for New York Democrats."