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Chairman Says DNC 'Fell Short' of Earning Voters' Trust in 2016

DNC Chairman Tom Perez said the party "undeniably" fell short in earning the trust of voters in 2016 and called a claim by Donna Brazile "ludicrous."
Image: Tom Perez
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez on 'Meet the Press' on Sunday.NBC News

WASHINGTON — Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez on Sunday said that the committee “undeniably” fell short in earning the trust of voters during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, but he dismissed as "ludicrous" the claim by a former DNC Chair that health concerns drove considerations to replace Hillary Clinton as the party's nominee late in the campaign.

“We have to earn the trust of the voters, and during the process of the Democratic primary, we fell short in that, undeniably," Perez said in an interview on Sunday's "Meet The Press."

In a new book, former interim DNC Chair Donna Brazile wrote that the Clinton campaign waged a "secret takeover" of the DNC, many months before she clinched the Democratic presidential nomination last year.

Brazile also wrote in her new book that she considered trying to replace Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine with Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Cory Booker after Clinton became overheated at a Sept. 11th memorial service and because her campaign was “anemic” and carried “the odor of failure.”

“I have great respect for Donna, consider her a friend, she’s done a lot for the Democratic Party," Perez said. "The charge that Hillary Clinton was somehow incapacitated is quite frankly ludicrous. Hillary Clinton was a tireless senator, a tireless secretary of state, and a tireless candidate.”

Related: Book Says DNC's Brazile Considered Replace Clinton as Nominee

A large group of former staffers on Clinton’s campaign wrote a statement this weekend claiming that Brazile seemingly bought “into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.”

Perez pointed out the DNC's rules on replacing any nominee meant Brazile could not have made such a move herself, saying, “I don’t know what Donna Brazile fell for, but under the rules and bylaws of the Democratic National Committee, she couldn’t have done this."

Perez also charged that it's possible allegations like Brazile's might make the public think twice about other controversial claims made in her upcoming book.

"Hillary Clinton was anything but incapacitated. She was tireless. She was a work horse, and frankly, what saddens me about this as much as anything, is I think people who read that charge which is just without merit are going to perhaps start wondering about other claims in the book.”