MSNBC Already Hyping Future Speaker Jeffries

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Kevin McCarthy hadn’t even been Speaker for eight hours when MSNBC’s Ali Velshi welcomed Washington Post national politics reporter Eugene Scott onto his Saturday show eagerly anticipate his replacement by new minority leader and noted election denier Hakeem Jeffries.

Velshi began by playing a video of Jeffries early Saturday morning before he formally handed the gavel over to McCarthy giving the typical Democratic speech about diversity. Reacting to that clip, Velshi declared, “Had a bit of a Lin-Manuel Miranda thing going on there. He was– he kept going for a long time, by the way, without a script. An impressive showing, some say a little bit wasted, in the middle of the night on a night that wasn’t his, because he had to hand over the gavel to McCarthy.”

He then asked Scott, “what’d you make of Hakeem Jeffries first big performance?”

Scott was even more willing to heap praise on Jeffries, “I think Jeffries is thinking long term. What I saw was a pitch to Americans who have been disappointed and frustrated with the Republican Party this week. Trying to present to them and make them know there is another option.”

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It’s much easier to be the opposition party because you can criticize the majority without actually having to do anything . Yet, Scott was certain that Jeffries and Democrats could credibly claim to be more competent:

One of the main attacks against Democrats from the GOP is that it is not a party for rural Americans, or conservative Americans, or Christian Americans, or people with more traditional ideas about what life should be like and I think what Jeffries tried to do in that particular moment is communicate to those people actually, if you feel like you want a party that is operating without chaos and has a high view of diversity, including some groups that perhaps you don’t see as often as the face of the Democratic Party as you may like, come over here and give us a try. 

Velshi then sought to clean up his earlier remarks by being more pro-Jeffries, “And I suppose it wasn’t wasted, because most of the nation was watching this very, very closely last night. So they got their– for a lot of people, that was their first real taste of what Hakeem Jeffries is as a speaker.”

Jeffries gave his speech slightly after 1 AM Eastern. The idea that “most of the nation” was watching C-SPAN or cable news at that hour and fell in love with Jeffries is as comical as it is absurd.

This segment was sponsored by 4imprint.

Here is a transcript for the January 7 show:

MSNBC Velshi

1/7/2023

9:07 AM ET

ALI VELSHI: Had a bit of a Lin-Manuel Miranda thing going on there. He was– he kept going for a long time, by the way, without a script. An impressive showing, some say a little bit wasted, in the middle of the night on a night that wasn’t his, because he had to hand over the gavel to McCarthy, but what’d you make of Hakeem Jeffries first big performance? 

EUGENE SCOTT: I think Jeffries is thinking long term. What I saw was a pitch to Americans who have been disappointed and frustrated with the Republican Party this week. Trying to present to them and make them know there is another option. 

One of the main attacks against Democrats from the GOP is that it is not a party for rural Americans, or conservative Americans, or Christian Americans, or people with more traditional ideas about what life should be like and I think what Jeffries tried to do in that particular moment is communicate to those people actually, if you feel like you want a party that is operating without chaos and has a high view of diversity, including some groups that perhaps you don’t see as often as the face of the Democratic Party as you may like, come over here and give us a try. It was a pitch, it was a pitch to grow the party, to expand the party, and to get support for the party heading into 2024. 

VELSHI: And I suppose it wasn’t wasted, because most of the nation was watching this very, very closely last night. So they got their– for a lot of people, that was their first real taste of what Hakeem Jeffries is as a speaker. Eugene, good to see you, my friend. Thank you as always for joining us. Eugene Scott, a national political reporter for the Washington Post.

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