May 18, 2024

“We all felt the need, the C.B.C. felt the need, to maintain this kind of continuity and make for a smooth transition,” he said.

Mr. Hoyer’s departure means that in the next Congress, for the first time in either chamber or party, House Democrats’ trio of top leaders will include no one who looks like him.

“I think we need white men, still; I hope there’s someplace for white men somewhere,” he joked. He said he was more focused on Mr. Jeffries’s accomplishments than on the significance of electing the first Black person as a party leader.

“Jeffries, of whatever color, he is an extraordinary talent,” he said.

But Mr. Hoyer added that the diversity of the Democratic caucus, in contrast with the homogeneity of the Republican side, was critical to the party’s success.

“I tell people, if you sit in the gallery, if you look to the right, you see part of America,” he said, referencing the Republican side of the House chamber. “If you look to the left, you see all of America.”

Mr. Hoyer also said the narrative that his party needed to make way for a new generation of leaders was slightly overblown.

“I kept thinking, ‘Why are they saying that, as if Jeffries, Aguilar and Clark were new people?’” he said, noting that the three had served in leadership for years, albeit in lower-ranking positions. “We encouraged them, we included them.”

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