Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez argued Sunday that the Democratic Party is more in touch with American values than the Republican Party is as he pushed back on the idea that Democrats are drifting to the left.
When "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd pointed to headlines about the divisions in the party over issues like Israel and its relationship with corporations, Perez framed the debate as well within the confines of the views shared by the majority of Americans.
"We must never confuse unity and unanimity. We have unity on the fact that healthcare is a right for all and not a privilege for a few. Thanks to Democrats, we now have 90 percent coverage. We're having a conversation on how to get from 90 percent to 100 percent. They're talking about, on the Republican side, how to eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions," Perez said.
"We believe that climate change is real. It’s not a hoax. And we're having a discussion about how we build this clean energy economy. The other side denies that climate change exists. So, we're having a discussion about the means, but our values are the values that I believe command the respect of the vast majority of the American people."
The party's growing pains after its strong showing in the 2018 midterms, where the party took back control of the House, has played out in the headlines in recent weeks.
House Democratic leadership recently issued a rebuke of Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for evoking 'anti-Semitic tropes' on Twitter, an episode that pointed to the larger debate over Israel that's been simmering in the party for years.
And Democrats have been split on whether to embrace extreme ideas to combat climate change espoused by some progressives promoting a "Green New Deal," as well as whether deals like the scuttled one to put an Amazon corporate headquarters in New York City is worth the tradeoff.
But Perez argued that the vast majority of the Democratic debates are happening on turf that reflects American values, and that Democrats have shown a willingness to call out comments that go too far. He contrasted that to the Republican treatment of President Trump, pointing to Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson's defense of Trump's controversial decision to declare a national emergency to secure border wall funding.
"The difference between Democrats and Republicans is when we see people within our own ranks do things or say things that are antithetical to our values, we are not reluctant to call them out," Perez said, pointing to Omar's comment.
"On the other side, unfortunately, they are enablers. Look at Senator Johnson with this national emergency calisthenics that he just did. He understands that it's unconstitutional, but God forbid that he would say something against Donald Trump."
Watch Perez's full interview below, where he discusses the upcoming Democratic debates amid the announcement that NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo will be broadcasting the first salvo later this year.