The drumbeat for Democratic National Committee boss Tom Perez to be “held accountable” for recent party failures appears to be getting louder.
The latest Democrats to criticize Perez include U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., all backers of 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Recent party setbacks have included the vote-count fiasco at Monday’s Iowa caucuses and Tuesday night’s disclosure that two officials on the host committee of the party’s upcoming national convention in Milwaukee had been fired over non-specified allegations that they oversaw a work environment where staff members were not being “respected.”
Previously, Democrats such as former Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Washington state Democratic chairwoman Tina Podlodowski and party strategist Neil Sroka spoke out against Perez’s leadership.
“He doesn’t lead on anything,” Fudge told Politico.
On Friday, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Jayapal shared their views on the party chairman.
“What’s happened in Iowa is a complete disgrace and someone needs to be held responsible,” Ocasio-Cortez said outside the U.S. Capitol, according to the outlet. “I think there’s a conversation needed around taking responsibility for Iowa and ensuring that this bungled process never happens again.”
“What’s happened in Iowa is a complete disgrace and someone needs to be held responsible.”
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is seen in New York City, April 5, 2019. (Getty Images)
Omar mentioned Perez by name in her remarks.
“I would say Tom Perez should be held accountable for this failure,” Omar told The Hill. “I believe it all starts from the top. These are things that Tom should do and should have done. If this was happening in my home state, we would be having a very serious conversation about what accountability would look like for our own chair.”
“I believe it all starts from the top. These are things that Tom should do and should have done.”
— Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 6, 2019. (Associated Press)
Omar noted that the DNC had years to prepare for the Iowa caucuses and said it was “devastating” that more precautions weren’t in place to prevent this week’s vote-count situation.
Jayapal called the Iowa caucuses a “national embarrassment,” and said others deserved blame in addition to Perez.
“I’m sure there is shared blame to go around,” Jayapal told The Hill. “But Tom Perez is the head of the DNC, and I do think that there clearly was not the process in place to make sure all these [protocols] were going to be followed.”
“Tom Perez is the head of the DNC, and I do think that there clearly was not the process in place to make sure all these [protocols] were going to be followed.”
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 30, 2019. (Associated Press)
The criticism of Perez followed a Twitter message the DNC leader posted Thursday, in which he blamed Iowa’s state-level Democratic Party for the caucus problems.
“Enough is enough,” Perez wrote. “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”
Podlodowski accused Perez of throwing Iowa officials “under the bus” after a long silence from the national DNC amid the vote-counting problems.
Neither news organizations nor the Iowa Democratic Party have been able to call a winner in Monday’s Iowa caucuses while Pete Buttigieg and Sanders are both claiming victory in the state.
As of late Friday, Buttigieg held a narrow lead in state delegate equivalents (SDEs), which help decide how many delegates a candidate gets to bring to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee later this year
Sanders, on the other hand, led in the popular vote from both the “first alignment” and the “second alignment” phases of the caucuses.
Those numbers could change, however, as the IDP has noted many irregularities in its vote count and it is highly likely candidates will call for reexaminations of the numbers, as Perez already has.
Meanwhile, DNC convention host committee members Liz Gilbert and Adam Alonso were fired Tuesday evening after initially being placed on leave following allegations made in a Jan. 30 letter signed by committee staffers, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.
“Every employee has a right to feel respected in their workplace,” the host committee said in a statement, the outlet reported. “Based on the information we have learned to date, we believe the work environment did not meet the ideals and expectations of the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee Board of Directors. Accordingly, Liz Gilbert and Adam Alonso are no longer employed by the organization, effective immediately.”
The staffers alleged that Alonso “consistently bullied and intimidated staff members,” in particular the women, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, and accused Gilbert of allowing “a culture that coddles male senior advisers and consultants.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Tyler Olson contributed to this story.