Congress

Hakeem Jeffries calls Trump ‘grand wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’

Top Democrats use MLK Day an opportunity to criticize Trump’s southern border wall as bigoted

House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries referred to President Donald Trump as the “birther in chief” in his MLK Day remarks. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democratic Caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries likened President Donald Trump to a leader of the Ku Klux Klan at a rally marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“These are challenging times in the United States of America — we have a hater in the White House, a birther in chief, the grand wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” Jeffries said at an event hosted by the National Action Network in Harlem. “One of the things that we’ve learned is that while Jim Crow may be dead, he still got some nieces and nephews that are alive and well.”

Jeffries and other top Democrats seized the day honoring the civil rights leader as an opportunity to shed reservations about criticizing the president’s crusade for a southern border wall as bigoted. 

The holiday marked Day 31 of a government shutdown that has postponed paychecks for hundreds of thousands of civilian employees.

Trump has argued that a border wall will stave off possible terrorists, rapists and drug cartels, but Department of Homeland Security statistics show the strain on the U.S. immigration system has come from a surge in apprehensions of unaccompanied children and families.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is running for president in 2020, said at the Harlem rally that the president has fomented “hate and darkness.”

And Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, another 2020 candidate, called the proposed wall a “monument to hate and division” at an event in Boston, according to The Associated Press. 

At an MLK Day event in South Carolina, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is considering another bid for the White House, said frankly, “It gives me no pleasure to tell you that we now have a president of the United States who is a racist.”

“We have a president intentionally, purposefully trying to divide us up by the color of our skin, by our gender, by the country we came from, by our religion,” Sanders said.

Watch: ‘I’m not sure what’s going on, but I object’: Confusion on House floor Thursday during attempted shutdown-ending vote

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