Jim Clyburn

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Jim Clyburn

James "Jim" E. Clyburn is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 6th district of South Carolina.

President Barack Obama has said he is, "One of a handful of people who, when they speak, the entire Congress listens." As Assistant Democratic Leader in the 112th Congress, the number three Democrat in the House, James E. Clyburn is the leadership liaison to the Appropriations Committee and one of the Democratic Caucus' primary liaisons to the White House. Working with the internal caucuses, he plays a prominent role in messaging and outreach.

Jim and Emily Clyburn have three daughters, Mignon Clyburn, Jennifer Reed, and Angela Hannibal.[1]

Compares Trump to Hitler

March 2019 House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn invoked the regime of Adolf Hitler to warn about the presidency of Donald Trump, urging Congress to push back on a president whom he said he considers one of “the greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime.”

The South Carolina Democrat told NBC News on Tuesday that, though he’d never lived through a political climate as toxic as the current one, he’d studied ones like it.

Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany. And he went about the business of discrediting institutions to the point that people bought into his stuff,” he said, arguing later that Hitler’s shift from chancellor to dictator is an often overlooked part of history.

“Nobody would have believed it now. But swastikas hung in churches throughout Germany. We had better be very careful,” Clyburn said.

The third-ranking House Democrat appeared to draw a loose comparison between Trump’s erosion of norms as president in office to Hitler’s rule in Germany, warning that both chambers of Congress should be prepared to stand up to the president if necessary.

“To allow anybody to discredit the press, discredit the military, to discredit our leadership in — both in the Congress and outside — we are asking for dire consequences and I think it’s time for the Congress, House and Senate, to grow spines and do what is necessary to protect this democracy,” he said. “This man and his family are the greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime.”

Clyburn also broke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the issue of impeachment, suggesting that the issue of impeaching Trump is less of a reach than the speaker has presented it to be and doesn’t necessarily require complete bipartisan support in Congress.

“I think all of us know that impeachment is a political concept,” he conceded. But, he predicted, “if the committees do their work properly, they will be able to bring the public along with them. They will be able to set the tone for impeachment if that is deserved.”[2]

Early activism

Clyburn's humble beginnings in Sumter South Carolina, as the eldest son of an activist fundamentalist minister and an independent civic minded beautician, grounded him securely in family, faith and public service. He was elected president of his NAACP youth group when he was 12 years old . He worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as leader of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and organized many civil rights marches and demonstrations. He even met his wife, Emily, in jail during one of his many incarcerations for non-violent protests. .[3]

United Citizens Party

When it first started in 1970, the United Citizens Party platform called for state-supported day care and kindergarten for all children, abolishing the death penalty, stricter environmental laws, unions for state employees, living wages for all workers, curbing corporate incentives and retiring the Confederate flag to a museum.

The UCP first ran candidates in the 1970 general elections. John Roy Harper, then a law student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, was party chairman. At a press conference announcing a petition drive to place the UCP on the ballot, Harper said, "There are no black state legislators, no black members of the county councils, no black school board members, no members of city councils. We got no way to go but up."

The original call for starting a black-led third party in South Carolina came out of a study committee organized by the South Carolina Voter Education Project, headed by Jim Clyburn, a 29-year-old Charlestonian. Clyburn warned the group to watch out for back-room deals by Negro Democrats, but stressed that the UCP should include Republicans and Democrats and that it should be "an alternative — if necessary — primarily geared for general elections."

Clyburn likened the UCP to political backup. "It’s like a gun you buy for protection; you hope you don’t have to use it but it’s there in case you need it."

Clyburn went on to become the first commissioner of the state Human Affairs Commission (a state agency the UCP called for in its party platform).[4]

Clyburn was a founder of the United Citizens Party.

Hospital workers strike

A pivotal moment in South Carolina's history came in 1969, when hospital workers in Charleston went on strike to demand union representation.

Tensions in the city increased. Andrew Young and Coretta Scott King, one year after her husband's assassination, led a huge downtown march. About 900 were arrested during the turmoil, and 5,000 National Guard troops were called into the city.

Bill Saunders, a militant leader groomed by Jenkins, negotiated directly with Gov. Robert E. McNair, who a little more than one year earlier had ordered state troopers to rein in protesting blacks on the campus of S.C. State College in an episode that would end tragically with three dead and 28 injured.

"In the end, a crucial call came to the governor's office from White House aide Harry Dent, former top staffer for Senator (Strom) Thurmond," according to "The Palmetto State" by Jack Bass and W. Scott Poole, . "His message amounted to an ultimatum from the White House: get the strike settled."

The Medical College Hospital backed down. Mary Moultrie and other workers celebrated.

Instrumental in negotiating a final settlement were a young James Clyburn, a schoolteacher and director of the South Carolina Commission of Farm Workers, and Robert Ford, an organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Today, Clyburn is the third most powerful congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives; Ford is a longtime state senator and candidate for governor; and Saunders, who spent 10 years on the Public Service Commission from 1994-2004, serving the 1st District, continues to run the North Charleston-based Committee for Better Racial Assurance (COBRA).[5]


When Clyburn came to Congress in 1993, he was elected co-President of his Freshman class and quickly rose through leadership ranks. He was elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1999, and his reputation as a leader and consensus-builder helped him win a difficult three-way race for House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair in 2002. Three years later, he was unanimously elected Chair of the Democratic Caucus. When Democrats regained the House majority in 2006, Congressman Clyburn was elevated by his colleagues to House Majority Whip.[6]

Cuban visit

The invitation for U.S. students to earn a free medical education in Cuba dates to June 2000, when a group from the Congressional Black Caucus visited Cuban president Fidel Castro. It was presided over by the then Caucus President James Clyburn, from North Carolina, and was made up of Bennie Thompson from Mississippi and Gregory Meeks from New York. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) described huge areas in his district where there were no doctors, and Castro responded with an offer of full scholarships for U.S. citizens to study at ELAM. Later that year, Castro spoke at the Riverside Church in New York, reiterating the offer and committing 500 slots to U.S. students who would pledge to practice in poor U.S. communities. Castro opened the doors of the program to 500 U.S. students who began enrolling two years later.[7]

Clyburn praised Castro for his "great sense of history and a great sense of self." He added the the Cuban leader was "very reflective" and "a policy wonk," and used the trip to raise awareness about the U.S. embargo against Cuba.[8]

Rev. Lucius Walker, executive director of Pastors for Peace, a New York-based nonprofit church organized the lawmakers' visit.[9]

Castro's version

Writing in Granma April 7 2009, Fidel Castro gave his version of the Clyburn, Thompson, Meeks visit;[10]

In May 2000, another Caucus delegation visited us. It was presided over by the then Caucus President James Clyburn, from North Carolina, and was made up of Bennie Thompson from Mississippi and Gregory Meeks from New York. These congressmen were the first to learn from me of Cuba’s disposition to grant a number of scholarships to low-income youths, to be selected by the Congressional Black Caucus, so that they could come to Cuba and study medicine. We made a similar offer to the "Pastors for Peace" NGO, which is presided over by Reverend Lucius Walker, who sent the first students to the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).
When the anti-Cuban pressures and activities of the Bush administration were intensified with respect to travel and the presence in Cuba of persons under U.S. jurisdiction, Black Caucus legislators addressed Secretary of State Colin Powell and managed to secure a license that legally allowed American youths to continue their medical studies – which they had already begun – in Cuba.

Planned Parenthood

Clyburn received $1000 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.

ARA lobbying

While Congress was home for recess July 2010, Alliance for Retired Americans members across the country met this week with members of Congress and staff including: Reps. Brad Miller in North Carolina; Sen. Claire McCaskill and Reps. Russ Carnahan, Emanuel Cleaver, and William Lacy Clay in Missouri; Reps. John Boccieri, Mary Jo Kilroy and Steve Driehaus in Ohio; Rep. Patrick J. Murphy in Pennsylvania; Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Harry Mitchell in Arizona; Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Martin Heinrich in New Mexico; and Reps. John Spratt, Jr. and Jim Clyburn in South Carolina.[11]

Staffer's 2010 trip to Cuba

Rep. Clyburn sent David Francis Grimaldi, Jr., to Cuba for 3 days in March/April 2010. The trip was courtesy of a $$2,127.40 grant from the Institute for Policy Studies connected Center for Democracy in the Americas... "Fact-finding mission to understand the importance and culture of U.S. policy toward Cuba" .[12]

Staffer's trip to Venezuela

Rep. Clyburn sent Adam Arguelles, to Venezuela for 3 days in February 2010. The trip was courtesy of a $2,219.70 grant from the Institute for Policy Studies connected Center for Democracy in the Americas... "A fact-finding trip in Venzuela and other Latin American countries with the mission of fostering dialogue and improving U.S. policy and bilateral relations" .[13]

Congressional Black Caucus

Jim Clyburn is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 113th Congress:[14]

Voted against cutting funding for ACORN

In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included Jim Clyburn. [15]

Harvey Gantt award

left to right; Congressman Jim Clyburn, Congressman John Lewis, Donna DeWitt, Clay Middleton, and Kenneth Riley, SC AFL-CIO President

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, and South Carolina AFL-CIO President Emeritus Donna DeWitt, a civil rights and union organizer, were honored during the Tri-County Ecumenical Service, Jan. 27, 2013, at Morris Street Baptist Church, 25 Morris St, Charleston.

The service and award ceremony was part of the 41st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, sponsored by the YWCA.

The Harvey Gantt award was presented to Lewis and Dewitt by U.S. Rep. James Clyburn and newly elected state AFL-CIO President Kenneth Riley. Lewis gave the keynote address.[16]

T-Mobile panel

On February 16, 2013, a distinguished group of national, international, and local leaders gathered in Charleston to hear testimony from T- Mobile employees. Their testimony provided compelling evidence of horrible working conditions and a complete absence of job security.

Members of the Charleston Speak Out Panel were;

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Elaine Cooper, was assigned as contact for Rep. Clyburn.[18]

JStreet endorsement

The socialist infiltrated, anti-Israel "two state solution" JStreet PAC endorsed Jim Clyburn in his 2014 Congressional race. [19]

JStreet endorsed him again 2016.

Clyburn is both an outspoken supporter of Israel and US leadership to bring about a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.[20]

ARA endorsement, 2012

The Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed Jim Clyburn in 2012.[21]

ARA PAF endorsement, 2014

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Jim Clyburn in 2014.[22]


After an emotional meeting between a dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus and activists in Ferguson, Mo., the CBC pledges action to keep the movement going.

After a dinner meeting with 10 young activists in Ferguson, Mo., members of the Congressional Black Caucus are looking for ways to empower the Ferguson activist community. Eleven members of the caucus met with the activists Jan. 17, 2015 including leaders from the Organization for Black Struggle and activists Deray McKesson and Johnetta Elzie.

“That dinner meeting was powerful. They [the members] heard it. They got an earful from those young people about how bad it is. They spoke on how they felt that the civil rights movement had failed them and talked on the abuse they are still taking from the criminal-justice system,” Rep. William Lacy Clay, Jr. (D-Mo.) told The Root days after the CBC visit to his district.

“The next step is for the Congressional Black Caucus Institute to get behind a massive effort to educate the voters of Ferguson. It’s a community of 21,000 people, 67 percent African American; we have the numbers, and the map works for them having a voice in local government,” Clay added.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who attended the Ferguson dinner, stressed during an interview with The Root, “We can’t tell them what to do” but “we can help them with what they want to do.”

Members of the CBC pledged to sponsor several young activists from Ferguson for the next CBC Political and Education Leadership Institute Boot Camp. The CBC Institute, started in 2002, has an annual political-leadership boot camp that focuses on leadership development, political campaigns and issue advocacy. In July, 55 young people graduated from the boot camp. Members can sponsor boot camp students with their campaign funds.

“Rep. Joyce Beatty [D-Ohio] agreed to sponsor one of the activists who attended the dinner at the CBC Institute boot camp. We’re gonna have about 15 of these young people in our boot camp from Ferguson,” Clay said.

Clay said the dinner meeting “was very positive, and it wasn’t really slamming the police, but it’s letting them know: OK, we’re watching you. We’re gonna take direct action legislatively to correct some of these gross inequities in the administration of justice.”

CBC member Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), currently the top fundraiser of the 46-member caucus, brought a check to the dinner meeting for each City Council candidate at the gathering. A more detailed fundraising plan is being thought out.

“We have filled the candidates in those seats, and we will be going out in each of the three wards in Ferguson, educating the voters on the importance of them having a voice in their local government,” said Clay.

CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield told The Root on the night of the State of the Union that the caucus will soon unveil a detailed criminal-justice legislative plan.


The delegation also included reps Karen Bass, D-Calif.; Andre Carson, D-Ind.; Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City; Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio; Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas; Donald Payne, Jr., D-N.J.[24]

Philip G. Grose Lecture

In 2014 U.S. Rep. James Clyburn delivered the Philip G. Grose Lecture in cooperation with the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina.

The lecture began at 6 p.m. in the Booker T. Washington Auditorium at 1400 Wheat St. The event was free and open to the public.

The lecture was in honor of Philip Grose, a longtime research associate with the institute and the author of books on the South.

Clyburn, a leading Democrat in the House of Representatives, is a key liaison to the White House.

In the South, he has supported rural water projects, community health centers, and broadband connections. Clyburn also supports higher education through Pell grants for students and preserving historically black colleges and universities.[25]

South Carolina Raising Wages Summit

Institute for Southern Studies February 6, 2016 ·


Institute for Southern Studies Executive Director Chris Kromm spoke at the South Carolina Raising Wages Summit today in Charleston, along with Rep. James Clyburn and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre.


The following are past and present staff:[26]

External links


  1. Official Congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  2. Politico Clyburn: Trump and his family are ‘greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime’ By CAITLIN OPRYSKO 03/20/2019 07:25 AM EDT
  3. Official Congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  4. South Carolina ready for a progressive third party? BY BRETT BURSEY, 2000
  5. Post & Courier, Leaders had pivotal roles in civil rights Adam Parker Jan 17 2010
  6. Official Congressional bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  7. [http://academic.udayton.edu/health/02organ/providers01.htm Fitzhugh Mullan, M.D Affirmative Action, Cuban Style, New England Journal of Medicine Volume 351:2680-2682 December 23, 2004 Number 26]
  8. [http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/37012-not-first-congressional-delegation-to-cuba The Hill, April 08, 2009, 10:54 am Not first Congressional delegation to Cuba By Eric Zimmermann]
  9. Black U.S. Lawmakers Visit Cuba, 5/31 By PAUL SHEPARD, Associated Press Writer
  10. https://web.archive.org/web/20090411103216/http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2009/april/mar7/Reflections-6april.html Reflections of Fidel, The seven Congress members who are visiting us, Havana. April 7, 2009]
  11. ARA,Alliance Retirees Meet with Members of Congress, Sebelius
  12. Legistorm: Center for Democracy in the Americas - Sponsor of Congressional Travel (accessed on August 30, 2010)
  13. Legistorm: Center for Democracy in the Americas - Sponsor of Congressional Travel (accessed on August 30, 2010)
  14. Congressional Black Caucus: Members (accessed on Feb. 24, 2011)
  15. [http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/09/the_75_democrats_who_are_prose.html American Thinker, September 18, 2009 The 75 Democrats who are pro-sex slave ACORN defenders By Ethel C. Fenig]
  16. FB JAN 27 2013 Harvey Gantt Triumph Award - Congressman John Lewis and Donna Dewitt
  17. [http://cwafiles.org/tmobile/13071-charleston.pdf, Standing up for Good Jobs in Charleston:]
  18. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  19. J Street The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans
  20. JStreetPAC 2016 Endorsees
  21. PAF
  22. PAF
  23. [ http://www.theroot.com/articles/politics/2015/01/congressional_black_caucus_offers_training_and_support_to_ferguson_activists.html The Root, CBC Offers Training and Support to Ferguson ActivistsBY: LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE Posted: Jan. 28 2015]
  24. ST Louis Posst Dispatch, Congressional Black Caucus members to attend church services Sunday in Ferguson January 16, 2015 10:30 am • By Chuck Raasch
  25. [1]
  26. http://www.legistorm.com/member/175/Rep_Jim_Clyburn_SC.html. Accessed 12/16/2011