Hakeem Jeffries AZ House speech viewed 2.4 million times
A video of Hakeem Jeffries handing over the Speaker of the House role to Kevin McCarthy has gone viral on social media and has been viewed more than 2.4 million times.
On Friday, Republican McCarthy was elected speaker on the 15th ballot, after four days of deadlock in the House.
In the end, 216 Republicans voted for McCarthy to 212 Democrats for Jeffries, while six Republicans voted “present.”
Previously, McCarthy had been blocked by a group of about 20 right-wing Republicans, making this the longest election for president since 1859, when 44 votes were required.
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries speaks after the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy was elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives on the 15th ballot at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 7, 2023. Excerpts from Jeffries’s speech went viral on social media. . OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/GETTY
In conceding the election, Jeffries extended “our hand of partnership” to McCarthy, adding: “We reach out, and it is our intention, to try to find common ground, whenever and wherever possible on behalf of the American people.”
However, Jeffries warned that Democrats will “never compromise our principles” and proceeded to list those principles with one offered for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet.
He began: “We will always put American values over autocracy, benevolence over bigotry, the constitution over cult, democracy over demagogues, economic opportunity over extremism, liberty over fascism.”
Continuing in this style to the letter z, he said: “Reason over racism, substance over slander, triumph over tyranny, understanding over ugliness, voting rights over voter suppression, working families over the well-connected, xenial on xenophobia, yes we can on you can’t, and rousing representation on zero-sum confrontation.”
A clip of the speech was posted to Twitter by user ‘BrooklynDad_Defiant’, a self-described Democratic supporter.
He wrote: “HOLY SHIT my man Rep. Hakeem Jeffries actually educated these suckers alphabetically!”
The video received more than 1.7 million views, along with 19,500 retweets and 86,000 likes.
Another snippet of the speech was tweeted by Huffington Post journalist Philip Lewis, who wrote: “Hakeem Jeffries went from A to Z in his speech.”
This clip was viewed more than 500,000 times and received more than 23,000 likes.
Reacting to his election on Friday, Chairman McCarthy quipped: “That was easy, huh?”
He continued: “My father always told me, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Now, the hard work begins.”
Speaking to reporters, McCarthy praised former President Donald Trump, who endorsed him in the race.
He said: “But I want to especially thank President Trump.
“I don’t think you should doubt, no one should doubt his influence. He was with me from the beginning… And he did it all. He would call me and he would call the others.”
Speaking to Newsweek professor Sarah Binder, who teaches at the George Washington University College of Arts and Sciences in Columbia, she predicted that McCarthy will have a difficult time as a speaker.
She said: “This was going to be a tough Congress for McCarthy, even if he had been elected on the first ballot. It’s a thin, fractured Republican majority that will have a hard time when ‘must pass’ measures go to the floor.”