Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez was rescued by an aide from a potentially awkward question from HuffPost Monday about whether Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has adequately called out political violence.
Schumer angered progressives last month when he tweeted a denunciation of political violence across the spectrum, screenshotting stories about House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R., Calif.) office being vandalized and liberal megadonor George Soros' mailbox being mailed an explosive device.
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After answering repeated questions from HuffPost reporter Wil S. Hylton about whether he considered President Donald Trump to be racist or bigoted, Perez said in an interview posted Friday that he was never afraid to call out divisive behavior.
Hylton cited Schumer's tweet and said, "When you see Chuck Schumer tweeting that both sides commit despicable acts of violence, do you think that’s calling it out enough?"
Make no mistake: Despicable acts of violence and harassment are being carried out by radicals across the political spectrum—not just by one side. Regardless of who is responsible, these acts are wrong and must be condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike. Period. pic.twitter.com/gopVUDO5dc
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 23, 2018
"I haven’t seen the quote, so can you give me the whole context?" Perez asked.
"It’s a tweet," Hylton said. "He said, ‘Despicable acts of violence and harassment are being carried out by radicals across the political spectrum—not just by one side.' Do you worry, as the head of the party, about that kind of false equivalence?"
The transcript then shows DNC Deputy Communications Director Sabrina Singh saying, "Hey, Wil. We don’t really want to get into responding to other Democratic tweets. We’re really excited about the map, and we’re happy to talk about our midterms and the strategy, but if you want to go more into this path, I’m happy to talk to you about this. I just don’t think this is a good use of Tom’s time."
"Well, I think this is a big part of the political landscape," Hylton said.
Perez again spoke, but he didn't mention Schumer and the Senate's top Democrat wasn't brought up in the remainder of the interview, according to the transcript.
"Let me try to address your point," Perez said. "Donald Trump did not invent anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism predated Donald Trump. Donald Trump did not invent the politics of division. This division predated Donald Trump. Donald Trump, however, understands 100 percent that the politics of division work to his advantage."