Perez Continues to Dodge Questions on Whether DNC Rigged 2016 Primary for Clinton

November 8, 2017

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez on Wednesday continued to dodge questions on whether the DNC rigged the 2016 presidential primary in favor of Hillary Clinton at the expense of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).

Perez got into a heated exchange with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, who repeatedly asked about former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile's claims that the organization conspired with Clinton to effectively hand her control of the national party during the primaries.

"I've got to ask you about Donna Brazile, Tom. Obviously she's railing against the DNC  in her new book; we’ve seen her all over the place revealing fresh divides within the party in the aftermath of the 2016 election," Bartiromo said.

Bartiromo then played a clip of Brazile saying Sunday that those criticizing her decision to make these revelations public can "go to hell" and that she "is going to tell [her] story."

"Donna's a good friend and I think you need to ask her that question," Perez responded. "What I can tell you, Maria, is I was out on the stump everywhere and there wasn't one person who asked me about Donna Brazile. They were asking me about their health care; they wanted to continue the process [Gov.] Terry McAuliffe has made in Virginia. They wanted to make sure we had people uniting us and not dividing us."

Bartiromo pushed Perez to address Bazile's comments, saying they highlight a clear division within the Democratic Party.

"If the Democratic National Committee and Debbie Wasserman Schultz had been neutral, let's say they were neutral and they weren’t in the tank for Hillary, would Bernie Sanders have gotten the nomination and perhaps would he be president today?" Bartiromo asked.

"Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary by four million votes," Perez said.

"But it was rigged. Now we know it was rigged." Bartiromo interjected.

After Bartiromo continued to press Perez, the DNC chair tried to shift the conversation to discuss Democratic victories in Tuesday night's elections and health care.

The two went back and forth and began debating the merits of Obamacare.

Bartiromo then continued asking Perez about the DNC and Perez tried shifting the conversation, until she asked whether the DNC chair has talked to Sanders since Brazile's claims became public.

Perez refused to directly address Brazile's claims and worked to change the subject. Bartiromo then asked Perez about the matter one last time.

"Would Bernie Sanders have gotten the nomination if Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC were neutral?" Bartiromo asked.

"States run primary elections. The Democratic Party and the Republican Party do not run primary elections," Perez responded. "Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary by four million votes."

Perez's interview on Wednesday followed multiple other interviews in the past several days in which the DNC chair refused to directly address Brazile's allegations that the primary was rigged, dodging multiple questions from journalists.

Brazile this week has pushed back against her own claims that the Democratic primary was "rigged," despite making the charge in her book.