House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., had previously disavowed his uncle’s controversial speeches where he made inflammatory comments about Jews, but in an editorial column recently unearthed by CNN that was written by Jeffries when he was in college in the 1990s, he defended his uncle.

Jeffries’ uncle, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, was fired as the Black studies chairman at the City College of New York and faced backlash after a speech in 1991 where he spoke about “the Jews who financed the slave trade” and controlled Hollywood, according to a journal article.

In a 2013 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Rep. Jeffries said he had “a vague recollection” of the controversy surrounding his uncle. He has since taken former Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s place as the leader of his party in the House.

But CNN reported that Jeffries not only wrote a column in defense of his uncle but also invited him to speak on campus at Binghamton University in upstate New York, which he attended at the time.

Hakeem Jeffries defended his uncle’s controversial views

In a 1992 op-ed, Jeffries defended his uncle and Louis Farrakhan, the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam, who has a history of making antisemitic remarks, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

“Dr. Leonard Jeffries and Minister Louis Farrakhan have come under intense fire. Where do you think their interests lie? Dr. Jeffries has challenged the existing white supremist educational system and the longstanding distortion of history,” wrote Rep. Jeffries, an executive board member of the university’s Black Student Union at the time.

“His reward had been a media lynching complete with character assassinations and inflammatory erroneous accusations,” he said.

This opinion piece also attacked conservative African American leaders like Justice Clarence Thomas.

“There has been a recent trend in the Black political arena which I believe threatens to sustain the oppression of the Black masses. The phenomenon I refer to is the rise of the Black conservative,” Rep. Jeffries wrote in the article. “The most notable indicator of this is the appointment of Justice Clarence Thomas to the United States Supreme Court.”

He went on to compare Black conservatives to “House Negros,” saying that both want to secure “some measure of happiness for themselves within the existing social order.”

“In both cases,” he said, “the social order has Blacks occupying the lowest societal echelon.”

Jeffries’ spokesperson told CNN that the House minority leader “does not share the controversial views espoused by his uncle over thirty years ago.”

Hakeem Jeffries — a longtime critic of Clarence Thomas

Jeffries, a progressive Democrat, has frequently criticized the GOP, and Thomas specifically, in recent years.

In May 2022, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, he said: “Let me ask this question of brother Thomas, why are you such a hater? Hate on civil rights. Hate on women’s rights. Hate on reproductive rights. Hate on voting rights. Hate on marital rights. Hate on equal protection under the law. Hate on liberty and justice for all. Hate on free and fair elections. Why are you such a hater?”

Last week, he called out Thomas’ “hypocrisy” after ProPublica published a report about the annual trips Thomas and his wife go on with Texas billionaire Harlan Crow’s family. ProPublica said the vacations cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and weren’t reported by Thomas.

“The more we learn about their hypocrisy the worse it gets,” said Jeffries on Twitter. “These people actually think that shamelessness is a superpower.”

But, as Fox News reported, there was no protocol in place for reporting travel by private jets until last month.

It actually further reinforces the fact that he’d been acting within the rules and according to the practice that has been understood for decades,” said Roger Severino, vice president of domestic policy at a conservative think tank. He has previously overseen ethical compliance for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.

Crow said in a statement that the two families have known each other a long time and the hospitality they extended to Thomas and his wife was “no different from the hospitality we have extended to our many other dear friends.”

Another ProPublica report on Thursday said that Thomas also failed to report selling real estate properties to Crow.