Former labour secretary pledges unity
ATLANTA — Newly elected Democratic national chairman Tom Perez has pledged to unite a fractured party, rebuild at all levels from “school board to the Senate” and reach out to chunks of rural America left feeling forgotten in the 2016 election.
Speaking in television interviews Sunday, Perez indicated that an important first step was joining with vanquished rival Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who agreed at Perez’s invitation to serve as the Democratic National Committee’s deputy chairman. Perez said the two would work hard to put out an affirmative party message while opposing President Donald Trump’s policies, adding that he and Ellison were already getting a “good kick” that Trump was stirred to tweet that the DNC election was “rigged.”
“We lead with our values and we lead with our actions,” Perez said, describing a party focus that will emphasize protecting Social Security, Medicare and “growing good jobs in this economy.”
“You know, our unity as a party is our greatest strength. And it’s his worst nightmare,” he said. “And, frankly, what we need to be looking at is whether this election was rigged by Donald Trump and his buddy Vladimir Putin.”
The former labour secretary in the Obama administration acknowledged that swaths of the U.S. had felt neglected, saying he had heard from rural America that “Democrats haven’t been there for us recently.”
“That’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Perez said, stressing grassroots efforts in all 50 states.
After Perez’s victory, Trump took to twitter. “Congratulations to Thomas Perez, who has just been named chairman of the DNC. I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party!” the president wrote. Early Sunday, the president asserted the Democratic contest was “of course, totally ‘rigged.’ Bernie’s guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance.”