Dem rep: Jim Crow's 'nieces and nephews' are in the White House

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) criticized President Trump's administration Friday, tying it to the Jim Crow laws that protected racial segregation in the decades after the Civil War. 

Giving his opening statement during a town hall at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, Jeffries defended former President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaNumber of refugees entering US drops by half under Trump Former Obama intelligence official: Russian hack ‘the political equivalent of 9/11’ Trump notes 'election meddling by Russia' in tweet criticizing Obama MORE's tenure while contrasting it with the current administration. 

"While Jim Crow may be dead, he's got some nieces and nephews that are alive and well. And a few of them are running around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Jeffries said to laughs and cheers from the audience. 

Jeffries blasted Trump for saying that he "inherited a mess" when he took office, arguing that Obama was the one who "inherited a mess" from his predecessor only to around the country before Trump took over. 

Jim Crow was a blanket term for laws, mostly in the South, that disenfranchised blacks and maintained white control over most of civic life from after the Civil War until the success of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. 

Jeffries' office did not return a request to comment on his statement. 

Jeffries also blasted Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsJustice Department developing strategies to shut down ‘sanctuary cities’: report Sally Yates slams Sessions on criminal justice reform Preet Bharara emailed DOJ about phone call from Trump: report MORE's positions on police brutality and racial inequality.

"We have basically gone from a situation where we had an progressive attorney general in in Eric HolderEric H. HolderOvernight Tech: Uber CEO resigns | Trump's Iowa tech trip | Dems push Sessions to block AT&T-Time Warner deal | Lawmakers warned on threat to election systems | Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns Holder mulling 2020 bid MORE to a progressive attorney general in Loretta Lynch to a disaster and a 'good-ole boy' in Jeff Sessions. Obviously, we've turned back the clock," he said, adding that Sessions should be on trial for perjury after accusations he lied to the Senate about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. 

It's not the first time Jeffries has compared present-day situations to Jim Crow laws. After Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was killed in Florida by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2012, Jeffries said that the incident reminded him of the fact that "while Jim Crow may be dead, he's still got some nieces and nephews who are alive and well." 
 
And Jeffries accused Trump supporters of racism before, telling a crowd at a town hall in January that "every racist in America voted for Trump," Politico reported.