In the early minutes of Saturday morning Republicans elected Kevin McCarthy Speaker of the House on the fifteenth try. Minutes earlier a fistfight nearly erupted as one GOP Member had to be physically restrained from attacking Matt Gaetz.
After five days of wheeling and dealing behind closed doors, and minutes after McCarthy very publicly in the House chamber appeared to beg Gaetz for his vote (which he was denied), the Republican Majority Leader became Speaker of the House.
But before officially handing McCarthy the Speaker's gavel (the gavel the California Republican, months earlier, "joked" it "will be hard not to hit" Nancy Pelosi with) House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries launched into what some are calling a "masterpiece," his speech telling the entire House of Representatives why Democrats are better than Republicans, alphabetically – and without a teleprompter.
"We will never compromise our principles," Leader Jeffries promised. "House Democrats will always put American values over autocracy, benevolence over bigotry, the Constitution over the cult, democracy over demagogues, economic opportunity over extremism, freedom over fascism, governing over gaslighting, hopefulness over hatred, inclusion over isolation, justice over judicial overreach, knowledge over kangaroo courts, liberty over limitation, maturity over Mar-a-Lago, normalcy over negativity, opportunity over obstruction, people over politics, quality of life issues over QAnon, reason over racism, substance over slander, triumph over tyranny, understanding over ugliness, voting rights over voter suppression, working families over the well-connected, xenial over xenophobia, 'Yes we can' over 'You can do it,' and zealous representation over zero-sum confrontation."
'Democracy over demagogues': Here is the alphabetical portion of @RepJeffries speech tonight. pic.twitter.com/RdOyAK42jW
— Alex Wagner Tonight (@WagnerTonight) January 7, 2023
Jeffries later posted the video to Twitter, where it went viral, garnering over 285,000 views in just eight hours. Another clip of that portion of his speech has one million views. Social media influencer Majid Padellan, better known as BrooklynDad_Defiant!, posted a longer clip of Jeffries' speech. That video now has two million views.
"Our diversity is a strength. It is not a weakness," Jeffries, the first Black lawmaker to lead a political party in Congress, also told the House in that speech. "An economic strength. A competitive strength. A cultural strength. Our diversity is a strength, it is not a weakness."
"We are a gorgeous mosaic of people from throughout the world," he continued. "As John Lewis would sometimes remind us on this floor, 'We may have come over on different ships, but we're all in the same boat now.'"
"We are white, we are black, we are Latino, we are Asian, we are Native American, we are Christian, we are Jewish, we are Muslim, we are Hindu, we are religious, we are secular," he proudly explained. "We are gay, we are straight, we are young, we are older, we are women, we are men, we are citizens, we are dreamers."
"Out of many, we are one."
"That's what makes America a great country. And no matter what kind of haters are trying to divide us, we're not going to let anyone take that away from us. Not now. Not ever."
That too has gone viral, with different clips showing hundreds of thousands of views.
Jeffries is delivering a brilliant speech pic.twitter.com/yzycctC6Gr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 7, 2023
Jeffries' powerful full speech is 16 minutes long:
Watch the videos above or at this link.