Vice President Kamala Harris' new communications director has claimed on Twitter several times that his former boss, Al Gore, won the 2000 presidential election and that George W. Bush was an "illegitimate" president.
Jamal Simmons was announced last week as the replacement for Ashley Etienne, who resigned from the vice president's office last month along with several other staffers.
Between 2012 and 2021, Simmons stated repeatedly that he believes Bush "stole" the election from Gore in 2000. Simmons was the deputy communications director for the Gore-Lieberman campaign and has called Bush's first term "illegitimate."
In the weeks before President Biden was sworn in, Simmons continued to use Twitter as a platform for his thoughts about the 2000 election, saying he thought "W stole the 2000 [election]," but added that he "still stood when [Bush] entered a room."
A few years after the 2000 election, Simmons worked for then-Sen. Bob Graham's failed presidential campaign, during which he referred to the Florida recount saying, "[Graham] knows firsthand what voting irregularities and disenfranchisement can mean for the electoral process."
Simmons was among other Democrats close to Gore who alleged the election was stolen from him. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe also questioned the 2000 election results several times.
"Our base voters are madder than heck and think they were robbed. They worked their hearts and souls out in the presidential election only to have it taken from them," McAuliffe said in 2001.
In a 2001 interview with Black Entertainment Television (BET), McAuliffe claimed that the Democrats "won the campaign" in 2000 but "didn’t get the prize."
"Folks, you know it, I know it, they know it," McAuliffe said during another Democratic event in 2001, alluding to the 2000 election. "We won that election."
Other Democrats who have claimed an election was "stolen" or that they actually won, include two-time failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams.
A White House official said that Simmons supported Gore’s decision to respect the electoral process.
A day after Simmons' new position was announced last week, he received backlash and mockery on Twitter in response to some of his old tweets, including two posts that wanted to know why ICE was not picking up illegal immigrants who were speaking to MSNBC.
The pushback from progressives and immigration activists on Twitter led Simmons to release a statement that drew even more backlash from activists who doubted his sincerity.
In a tweet on Friday, Simmons said, "As a pundit, I tweeted+spoke A LOT. At times I've been sarcastic, unclear, or plainly missed the mark. I apologize for offending ppl who care as much as I do about making America the best, multiethnic, diverse democracy."