The chairman of the House Democratic Caucus called President Donald Trump “the grand wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event Monday.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, compared Trump to a leader of the Ku Klux Klan during an event hosted by the National Action Network in New York.
“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. “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.”
Several other New York Democrats – including Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Mayor Bill de Blasio – also spoke at the event.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jeffries had previously called Trump “a racial arsonist” for his handling of the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests, where white nationalists clashed with counterprotesters and one woman died in 2017.
“(Trump’s) reaction to Charlottesville was clearly inadequate, unacceptable, inappropriate, and for many people throughout America, led them to conclude that the President of the United States chose to pull the sheets off and reveal himself, in terms of his tendency to be a racial arsonist, fanning the flames of hatred,” Jeffries told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” at the time.
Blitzer later asked, “Are you suggesting he’s a racist?”
“No,” Jeffries replied. “He’s a racial arsonist. He uses race to advance his own ends – that’s troubling.”