The Clinton staffers responded they were “shocked to learn” that Brazile would consider overturning the will of Democratic voters. “It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponent, about our candidate’s health.”
On Sunday, Perez echoed the complaints, saying Brazile never had authority under DNC rules to replace the ticket because Clinton was not incapacitated.
Under party rules, a DNC head can call a special meeting to fill a “vacancy” on the national ticket in the event of disability in coordination with Democratic leaders of Congress and Democratic governors, but only the full DNC can fill the vacancy. At the time, Clinton had revealed she was suffering from pneumonia.
“I don’t know what Donna Brazile fell for,” Perez said. “Hillary Clinton was anything but incapacitated. She was tireless.”
“I think people who read that charge, which is just without merit, are going to perhaps start wondering about other claims in the book,” he added.
The book’s revelations come just before Tuesday’s Virginia’s governor race, where Republicans have not won a significant statewide election since 2009. The Democratic candidate, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, is casting the race to voters as a way to repudiate the policies of Trump against Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman. But Northam has received lukewarm support within his own party from the progressive group Democracy for America.
A win for Democrats could help defuse Brazile’s book and give the party important momentum. A loss would be a big blow to other Democrats plotting a similar anti-Trump strategy in the 2018 midterm congressional races and likely spur louder calls for radical changes in the DNC heading into 2020. Also Tuesday is a New Jersey governor’s race, where Democrat Phil Murphy holds a solid lead over Republican Lt. Gov Kim Guadagno to succeed departing Gov. Chris Christie, also a Republican.
In an excerpt published earlier by Politico, Brazile had written that she believed a joint fundraising agreement signed between Clinton and the DNC “looked unethical” and that she felt Clinton had too much influence on the party during a competitive Democratic primary with rival Bernie Sanders.
Over the weekend, Perez issued a statement saying he and the DNC leadership were committed to ensuring that the nomination process in 2020 will be “unquestionably fair and transparent.”
Among the reforms he said he developed after listening to Democrats across the party spectrum was ensuring that “no candidate participating in our presidential nominating process gains any unfair advantage — real or perceived — during our primary season.” He also said the debate schedule would be decided in advance rather than negotiated after all candidates had entered the race.
Perez pledged to ensure that all joint fundraising agreements would be transparent, including the new Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund agreements developed with the 50 state parties.
Still in play are recommendations of a Unity Reform Commission, created in a concession to supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to re-examine the nominating process, including the role of superdelegates and primary scheduling.
“We have to make sure that everybody feels at the end of the process that everyone got a fair shake,” Perez said.
Perez spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Brazile appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” and Pelosi was on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Associated Press writer Stephen Ohlemacher contributed to this report.
Share your email below to receive our daily newsletter!