Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:57 am
U.S. President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama have congratulated Thomas Perez on his election on Saturday as the new Chairman of Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Trump, in his congratulatory message on his Twitter handle, said he “could not be happier for the Republican Party”.
“Congratulations to Thomas Perez, who has just been named Chairman of the DNC.
“I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party!” Trump tweeted.
Obama, in a statement issued by his office on Saturday, praised Perez, his former Labour Secretary, as being a force of unity for the Democratic Party.
“Congratulations to my friend, Tom Perez, on his election to lead the Democratic Party, and on his choice of Keith Ellison to help him lead it,” Obama said.
The 44th U.S. president said he was proud of all the candidates who ran and who “make this great party what it is”.
The immediate past president, pledged that Perez “will unite us” and went on to discuss what unites the Democratic Party.
“What unites our party is a belief in opportunity – the idea that however you started out, whatever you look like, or whomever you love, America is the place where you can make it if you try.
“Over the past eight years, our party continued its track record of delivering on that promise:
“Growing the economy, creating new jobs, keeping our people safe with a tough, smart foreign policy, and expanding the rights of our founding to every American – including the right to quality, affordable health insurance.
“That’s a legacy the Democratic Party will always carry forward.
“I know that Tom Perez will unite us under that banner of opportunity, and lay the groundwork for a new generation of Democratic leadership for this big, bold, inclusive, dynamic America we love so much,” he said.
Obama did not endorse any candidate, but other officials from his administration, notably former Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney-General Eric Holder had endorsed Perez.
The other front-runner in the race, Rep. Keith Ellison, had the support of progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders as well as more establishment politicians like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Perez had garnered 213.5 votes to Ellison’s 200, resulting in a second ballot.
The election, however, saw Perez receiving 235 votes in the second round of voting, ahead of Sanders’ preferred candidate, Keith Ellison’s 200.
With 435 members voting, the threshold for victory in the second round was 218 votes.
The threshold for winning the first vote was 214.5 votes, and Perez was just one vote short of achieving that exact mark in the first round.
Perez, immediately after being elected, asked to suspend the rules of the party and selected Ellison to serve as his deputy chairman.
The move, which was accepted by Ellison, was unanimously supported.