It’s the dog days of summer, and in an election year that can only mean one thing: Veepstakes.
Current Labor Secretary Tom Perez is reported to be in the running to join Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket.
In an exclusive interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Perez proved to be an effective surrogate for Clinton — and strident critic of Donald Trump.
“It’s all about judgment,” Perez continued. “And Donald Trump is such a volatile individual. And what I have seen working with Secretary Clinton is that she is a steady hand.”
When asked to articulate his foreign policy philosophy, Perez avoided detailing his personal stance and renewed his attacks on Trump, calling him a "train wreck for American values" and "outsourcer-in-chief."
“Donald Trump is a fraud,” Perez said. "Listening to him talk about how he’s going to put American first again, he’s spent his entire career putting his own profits first.”
The stinging critique came after Trump's recent attacks against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal negotiated by the Obama Administration.
Clinton also has come out against TPP, though Perez repeatedly said he was “proud” of his work on the trade deal on behalf of the White House.
TPP is one of the few areas Clinton has distanced herself from Obama, and Perez attempted to thread the needle in explaining their disagreement.
“This is not the first time in the history of the Democratic Party that there have been differences of opinion,” he said, adding that he respects the differing opinions.
While Perez acknowledged the disagreements over TTP, he also noted the questions around Clinton's trustworthiness in wake of her personal email server controversy.
"When you’ve been attacked for 25 years relentlessly, you’re always going to have some challenges,” he explained, adding that Clinton herself “has said she has a lot of work to do to make sure she earns the trust of all voters.”
Still, he said that "the Hillary Clinton that I’ve gotten to know well and the Hillary Clinton that the voters of New York got to kick the tires on very well, they have always said and consistently said that 'we trust her.'”
Perez had a message for voters who might be having doubts about trusting Clinton.
He said they should look to the “body of her work across her life, including the work she did when she was not in the spotlight” to see that “her moral compass is about helping those who are in the shadows.”
Perez pointed to a valuable lesson learned while he served in local government: “You can’t afford to be ideological, because you’ve got to get stuff done. You’ve got to move the ball down the field.”
For him, Clinton is just the candidate to do that.
“She did so many things in a bipartisan fashion, whether it was the children’s health insurance program, immigration reform in 2007, which unfortunately didn’t make it to the finish line,” Perez explained.
“She understands that we’re stronger together,” he added, with an unmistakable nod to the Clinton campaign’s general election slogan.