Tom Perez, the newly elected Democratic National Committee chairman, on Sunday dismissed President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the race to lead the party was “rigged” in his favor.
Trump took to Twitter on Sunday morning to assert that the DNC race, which ended with Perez’s election by party leaders in Atlanta on Saturday, “was, of course, totally ‘rigged.’” And, referring to the runner-up and favorite of the party’s progressive wing, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, Trump added, “Bernie’s guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance. Clinton demanded Perez!”
Perez dismissed Trump’s tweet to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday morning. “Congressman Ellison and I got a good kick out of that,” Perez said. “Donald Trump, up in the morning tweeting about us. You know, our unity as a party is our greatest strength and it’s his worst nightmare.”
Perez was the favorite of many allies of former President Barack Obama, including former Vice President Joe Biden, but Hillary Clinton did not make an endorsement in the race.
Sen. Bernie Sanders also dismissed the tweet, speaking to Tapper a few minutes later.
“No, he doesn’t have a point,” Sanders said, referring to Trump’s claim that the process was rigged against Ellison, whom Sanders had endorsed. The Minnesota Democrat had been a strong supporter of Sanders during the primary season.
On CNN, Perez also used the subject of alleged election rigging to pivot to scrutiny into alleged contacts between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.
“Frankly, what we need to be looking at is whether this election was rigged by Donald Trump and his buddy Vladimir Putin,” Perez said.
Like others in his party, Perez argued that an independent investigation, not overseen by Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is necessary to address the issue.