WASHINGTON ― Labor Secretary Tom Perez appeared to suggest that Democrats should confront President-elect Donald Trump with the kind of obstruction strategy that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) employed against President Barack Obama.
“We can hit him between the eyes with a 2-by-4 and treat him like Mitch McConnell treated Barack Obama,” Perez told the audience at The Huffington Post’s live Democratic National Committee debate on Wednesday.
Perez cited Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder, a “low-road employer,” as evidence that Trump was already betraying his promise to help workers.
McConnell famously said in 2010, when he was minority leader, that Republicans needed to ensure that Obama was not re-elected.
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” McConnell said at the time.
Although McConnell’s remarks were widely interpreted as a pledge of all-out obstruction, he qualified his statement, saying that if Obama was “willing to meet us halfway on some of the biggest issues, it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him.”
Perez, for his part, appears to have a penchant for aggressive metaphors. Back in July 2014, he said he wanted to “punch” people who claim jobless Americans are not trying hard enough to find work.
The outgoing Cabinet member’s comments on Wednesday night are notable because he articulated a steadfast strategy of resistance ― a strategy behind which other Democrats have so far failed to unify.
In fact, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in an interview earlier this month with HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel that preventing Trump’s re-election is not his priority.
“I wouldn’t call that my goal,” Schumer said. “My goal is to make sure that it’s easier for the middle class to stay in the middle class and people trying to get there to get there. And that American values are not trampled on.”
Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Sen. McConnell claimed he could work with President Obama under select circumstances.