House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was the first guest for the first episode of former White House press secretary Jen Psaki on MSNBC Sunday, during which inaugural interview the two bashed Republicans in general and Speaker of the House Rep. Kevin McCarthy in particular.
For the premier episode of Inside With Jen Psaki, the Democrat veteran of both the Barack Obama and Joe Biden administrations started her MSNBC hosting gig with a Trump story. She then blasted McCarthy with Jeffries, slammed the NRA with Democrat MI Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, talked “gun violence” with Democrat NYC Mayor Eric Adams, defended “woke” politics against criticism from Republicans like Mike Pence and FL Gov. Ron DeSantis, and wrapped up by saying that what she did in her “last job” is what she “wants to do here as well.”
With Jeffries, the conversation began with Trump but segued to how Speaker McCarthy tweeted about Trump’s claim that the Manhattan D.A.’s office is planning to “arrest” him on Tuesday.
Psaki asked Jeffries for his reaction to the Speaker, “your partner at times” trying to “coddle or echo” Trump’s Truth Social commentary.
Jeffries said he strongly disagreed with the statement, and that “it’s not clear to me what committee the speaker may be referring to, perhaps the so-called weaponization committee, which is really more appropriately named The Committee to Protect Insurrectionists.”
Still speaking of McCarthy and his statement, Jeffries said it is “what we’ve seen from the extreme MAGA Republicans.”
He said that the GOP under McCarthy’s leadership is continuing to “peddle conspiracy theories” rather than focusing on issues such as inflation, health care, or jobs.
He added that McCarthy and the Republicans in the House are not “trying to find common ground with House Democrats to try to make life better for everyday Americans.”
Psaki then asked about a Washington Post article that reported McCarthy and Jeffries are finding common ground to try to make the House work for everyday Americans.
“Is that true?” asked Psaki of the report saying the opposite of what Jeffries just finished saying.
“Yes. We’ve had a positive, forward-looking relationship,” said Jeffries.
JEN PSAKI: Now, one of those people who, I would argue was trying to coddle or echo some of these comments is Speaker Kevin McCarthy. And I just want to read to you a tweet that he also posted yesterday. He said, ‘I’m directing relevant committees to immediately investigate if federal funds are being used to subvert our democracy by interfering in elections with politically motivated prosecutions.’ So, Leader Jeffries, what was your reaction to Speaker of the House, your partner at times, and his reaction to Trump’s post?
HAKEEM JEFFRIES: I strongly disagree with that statement. And it’s not clear to me what committee the speaker may be referring to, perhaps the so-called weaponization committee, which is really more appropriately named, the Committee to Protect Insurrectionists. And that is what we’ve seen from the extreme MAGA Republicans as it relates to the 118th Congress. Instead of the House majority focusing on the economy, focusing on inflation, focusing on job creation, focusing on health care, they continue to peddle conspiracy theories led by this so-called weaponization committee and the oversight committee, as opposed to trying to find common ground with House Democrats to try to make life better for everyday Americans. But we’re going to continue to put people over politics. We’re going to continue to focus on lower costs and better-paying jobs and safer communities. And we will continue to defend our democracy.
JEN PSAKI: Well, those weaponization committees may not be working out exactly as they planned, but if Speaker McCarthy moves forward with these committees to investigate the work of the manhattan D.A. Well, what will you do with — advise democratic members? Will they participate in these, or how would you approach that?
HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Well, I have full confidence in the leader of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, the leader of the Oversight Committee, Representative Jamie Raskin, and the leader on the Democratic side of the Weaponization Committee, Stacey Plaskett to continue to make sure that we are upholding the rule of law, doing our congressional duties and responsibilities, but also pushing back against the extreme MAGA Republican overreach that we continue to see and have seen over the first few months of this new Congress.
JEN PSAKI: And The Washington Post reported last week that you have been working on a truce of sorts with Kevin McCarthy out of respect for the House as a functioning institution. And of course, because you actually want to get some things done. First of all, is that report true?
HAKEEM JEFFRIES: Yes. We’ve had a positive, forward-looking relationship. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to strongly disagree with each other as we have with respect to the former twice-impeached president of the United States of America. But we can agree to disagree without being disagreeable, and always try to find common ground for the good of the institution, the Congress, the country. As part of an effort that Democrats have engaged in over the last several years, led by President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Schumer, to try to find bipartisan common ground whenever and wherever possible in order to make life better for everyday Americans. We’ve been able to do that in a significant way when we had the gavels. I hope to be able to continue to do that now.
Watch the clip above via Inside With Jen Psaki on MSNBC.
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