Harris comms chief called Bush 43 ‘illegitimate’ president

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Harris comms chief called Bush 43 'illegitimate' president

Vice President Kamala Harris’ newly appointed communications director Jamal Simmons insisted more than once that George W. Bush’s first presidential election victory was “illegitimate,” according to resurfaced statements and tweets.

While Simmons repeatedly noted that he behaved respectfully toward Bush, his insistence that the 2000 election was stolen pairs awkwardly with the Biden administration’s furious response to former President Donald Trump’s insistence that widespread voter fraud cost him a second term — a claim the White House and many top Democrats have labeled the “Big Lie.” 

The 2000 election, in which Bush narrowly defeated then-Vice President Al Gore, is best remembered for the controversial attempt by the Gore campaign to force ballot recounts in heavily Democratic areas of Florida. The Supreme Court eventually halted a partial recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court in the Bush v. Gore decision that December.

Bush was ultimately declared the winner of Florida’s 25 electoral votes by just 537 votes, which provided the Republican with the winning margin in the Electoral College.

Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2007.
George W. Bush narrowly defeated then-Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election.
AP

In 2003, Simmons – who was working on then-Sen. Bob Graham’s failed presidential bid – alluded to the recount in a statement saying, “[Graham] knows firsthand what voting irregularities and disenfranchisement can mean for the electoral process.” 

Nine years later, in June 2012, Simmons echoed that sentiment. 

“I worked for Gore 2000 & believe W’s 1st term to have been illegitimate. Yet when in the room w/him I stood and gave ofc [office] respect,” he tweeted. Simmons had worked as the deputy communications director for the Democratic presidential campaign that year.

Broward County Canvassing Board member Judge Robert Rosenberg reviews a questionable ballot 24 November 2000 at the Broward County Courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
The 2000 presidential election was controversial, in part due to controversial attempt by the Gore campaign to force ballot recounts in heavily Democratic areas of Florida.
AFP

In response to a private Twitter account that same year, Simmons said, “I said losing tickets. Gore Lieberman didn’t lose. (but same point).”

In response to members of Congress boycotting Trump’s inauguration in 2017, Simmons wrote, “I worked for Gore. Thought W was illegitimate. Still stood for him in respect for office. Members of Congress should go to inauguration.”

And as recently as January of last year, Simmons said he thought Bush “stole” the 2000 election.

“The Trump vs Biden equivalency is wrong. Trump was an anti-Democratic huckster grifting the country while unleashing our demons. Biden is the #Democratic version of McCain – a good man I disagreed with. I thought W stole the 2000 elex but I still stood when he entered a room,” Simmons wrote

The administration has defended Simmons’ hiring and a White House official told Fox News that Simmons respects Gore’s decision to respect the electoral process. 

The tweets resurfaced just days after Simmons publicly apologized for other old posts of his on Twitter in which he asked why illegal immigrants weren’t being apprehended.

“As a pundit for much of my career I have tweeted a lot and spoken out on public issues. Sometimes I have been sarcastic, unclear, or just plainly missed the mark,” Simmons said in a Friday statement. 

“I sincerely apologize for offending those who care as much as I do about making America the best, multi-ethnic, diverse democracy it can be.  I know the role I am taking on is to represent the Biden-Harris administration, and I will do so with humility, sincerity and respect.”

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