Perez Defends Latino Victory Fund Calling Gillespie Voters Racist: Spare Me the 'Crocodile Tears'

November 6, 2017

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez on Sunday defended the controversial Latino Victory Fund ad against Virginia's Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, saying people upset about it were crying "crocodile tears."

NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd played a clip of the ad and then played an ad put out by the Republican Party of Virginia in response to the controversial smear against Gillespie's supporters.

The progressive political action committee released the ad last Monday showing a man driving a pick-up truck with a Gillespie campaign sticker, a Tea Party license plate, and a Confederate flag on the back as he chases down a pair of Latino boys, an African-American boy, and a Muslim girl wearing a hijab.

Todd noted that Democrats don't like it when Republicans stereotype.

"Aren't you stereotyping?" Todd asked. "I drive a pickup truck. Are all pickup truck drivers racist? Do you understand why some people think the ad implies that?"

"Let's be clear about what's happening in the race in Virginia and in all too many races: dogwhistle politics," Perez sad. "Steve Bannon just endorsed Ed Gillespie in Virginia this morning, and throughout this campaign Ed Gillespie has been fear-mongering. He's been doing the same thing Donald Trump did.  That's not fair. That's not right."

Perez went on to say that Gillespie's Democratic opponent, Ralph Northam, and lieutenant governor nominee Justin Fairfax are looking for ways to unite people.

"Ed Gillespie, throughout the campaign, has been dividing people," Perez said. "When you hit the bully back and the bully starts crying, those are crocodile tears to me."

The controversial ad was taken down less than two days after it was released in the wake of the New York City terrorist attack involving a rental truck last week.

A Northam campaign spokesman told the Post last Tuesday, before the ad was pulled, that they "would not have run this ad."

Northam also told WAVY News last Wednesday that the commercial did not come from his campaign, and he would not have wanted to run it. However, public records show that Northam's campaign coordinated with the Latino Victory Fund.

It received a large in-kind donation from LVF just one week before the election. The $62,730 donation was for "media" purposes, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.