February 27, 2017
Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, elected chair of the Democrat Party over the weekend, said he plans to “rebuild” the Democrat Party in all 50 states, “redefine” its mission, and make its presence felt in every zip code.
And he made it clear that Democrats cannot work with President Donald Trump, whom he called a liar and a racist.
“Are you comfortable with the Democrats being known as the ‘party of no’ now?” Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” asked Perez on Sunday:
“The Democrats are the party of opportunity and inclusion,” Perez replied. “We are going communicate our message, whether it’s through lawsuits like the state attorneys general did to stop the Muslim ban, whether it’s through actions yesterday at the polls in Delaware and hopefully April in congressional 6 right here in Georgia.”
Perez played up the results of Saturday’s special election in Delaware for a tie-breaking state senate seat: “A lot of money was invested in that race by both sides, and we had 500 volunteers coming in — Our Revolution, the DNC, grassroots activists, all coming together. And we won that race.”
Perez said Democrats will now fight for the Georgia congressional seat vacated by Tom Price, the former U.S. representative who is now serving as Health and Human Services Secretary.
So Democrats won’t even work with Trump on an infrastructure plan, which they have long supported? Todd asked.
“We see no evidence, Chuck, of anything constructive from this president. Hours into his presidency he made it harder for first-time homebuyers to buy a home. A few days later he tried to make it harder for people to save for retirement. He nominates someone to head the Labor Department who wants to gut overtime pay. He is continually talking one way, but I judge people by their actions.
“Look at the ill-advised and, frankly, racist executive action against Muslims. He has governed from the far right in everything he has done.”
Perez said from now on, Democrats will “communicate an affirmative message.”
“We also have to redefine our mission,” he said. “We not only elect the president of the United States, but we elect people from the school board to the Senate and everywhere in between, governors, secretaries of state, treasurers, attorneys general.
And it started yesterday in Delaware. And I’m very excited about that. And I think there’s an acute understanding that where we fell short is that we didn’t invest enough in those state parties.
When we lead with our values and when we build that strong infrastructure, when we make house calls, when we’re in every zip code, and I’ve traveled to 10 states over the last five days, Chuck, that’s why my voice is scratchy.
And I heard from rural America that the Democrat Party hasn’t been there for us recently. We have to make sure we have an every zip code strategy. That’s how we win. That’s exactly what we’re going to do, these investments in grassroots organizing, because our values are the right values, but we’ve got to put those values into action.
Perez said he spoke to voters in Ohio: “And what they heard from Donald Trump is, I’m going to bring coal jobs back. That’s a lie, but what they heard is that he felt their pain. What they heard from us was that, you know, we — vote for us because we’re not him.”