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Hakeem Jeffries defends ‘grand wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’ comments

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on Wednesday did not back down from comments he made Monday likening President Trump to the head of the Ku Klux Klan.

Speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. event on Monday, the New York congressman criticized the president by saying, ” We have a hater in the White House, the birther-in-chief, the grand wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

During an interview on CNN Wednesday, Mr. Jeffries said he wasn’t sorry and stressed that there needs to be a larger conversation about race.

“We’ve got to have the opportunity for at least one day a year to have a candid, if sometimes uncomfortable, conversation about race,” he said.

When pressed, Mr. Jeffries, the Democratic Caucus chairman, would not explicitly call the president a racist and insisted that he used a “colorful phrase” on Monday.

Mr. Jeffries also gave several examples of “troubling” behavior including the president’s comments about the Central Park Five, the Obama birther conspiracy, “s–hole countries” and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“I do not believe that the president is a card-carrying member of the KKK, but he has presided and engaged in directly a series of racially insensitive remarks,” he said.

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