Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez described what he believed was “Donald Trump’s worst nightmare” during CNN’s DNC Debate Wednesday in Atlanta. The comment came as the moderator asked if he and the other leading DNC chair candidate, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) made a secret deal at a dinner they were seen having before the debate for the DNC leadership.
“I want to talk about something that has brought some intrigue to this race,” moderator Dana Bash began, “and that is a dinner between you, Congressman Ellison, and you, Secretary Perez. You went out to dinner recently. What happened there? Did you cut a deal?”
The two denied the allegation, laughing about who paid the bill. “The reality is I have traveled to Keith’s district multiple times as labor secretary,” Perez answered, “because we were working on the same things. “We were working on lifting wages, we were working on paid leave, we were working on upscaling people.”
“And you know what?” Perez added. “Here’s the reality and here is, I think, the most important principle that we need to understand is, a unified Democratic party is not only our best hope, it’s Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.”
The line elicited much applause from the Democratic audience.
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) February 23, 2017
Perez and Ellison are considered the leading candidates for the DNC chairmanship, with Perez representing the moderate establishment Obama wing of the party while Ellison is meant to appease the more progressive Bernie Sanders wing, while still being a part of the establishment.
The Democratic National Committee has been mired in internecine warfare as recriminations mount over the disastrous 2016 election. Outgoing Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) lit into the DNC, calling it “worthless” while pinning much of the blame of the election on former chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
An investigation continues into the possibility of the Trump campaign aiding the Russian government in cyber-hacking the DNC, though no evidence has been released.