Tom Perez Blasts Trump’s Labor Nominee, Andy Puzder

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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“We can’t turn back the clock on labor rights and the Labor Department,” U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez told Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC’s “Politics Nation” Sunday morning.

Focusing almost entirely on the contentious battle for chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), where Perez (along with Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison) are currently front runners, Sharpton threw a few curve balls. Sharpton asked Perez for his thoughts on Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Labor. (RELATED: Trump To Nominate Fervent Obama-Critic For Labor Sec)

“His pick is Andy Puzder who is the CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. who even said one time, he likes automated workers, they don’t file discrimination suits and oh I mean we are talking about this guy being Secretary of Labor?!” Sharpton asked rhetorically.

“How do you look at a guy like this becoming secretary of labor Tom?” Sharpton asked. “Donald Trump talked about — I’m gonna lift your wages, I’m gonna raise your living standards, ah — you know the nominee for labor secretary is a plaintiff in our suit challenging the overtime rule,” Perez responded. (RELATED: Judge Blocks Obama’s Overtime Rule)

“I believe the minimum wage in this country needs to be 15 dollars, and we need to raise it,” Perez said. “States  and local governments that have done it, they’ve moved forward,” Perez argued, without specifics. “He’s [Puzder] an opponent of raising the minimum wage,” he continued. (RELATED: Trump To Nominate Fight For Fifteen Critic For Labor Sec)

“So when Donald Trump is speaking to people through his nominations, he’s saying something totally different than what he said on the campaign trail, because we need to be lifting wages, and having people across government who understand that we have got to help empower workers,” Perez said.

“We can’t turn back the clock on civil rights at the Justice Department, we can’t turn back the clock on labor rights and the Labor Department, we cant turn back the clock on protecting our environment,” the outgoing Labor Secretary and potential future leader of the DNC remarked.

Perez made sure to redirect the conversation back towards the more general themes with broad appeal for Democrat voters, saying, “We don’t have a director of voter empowerment at the DNC, and if I have the privilege of being elected, we will have one,” Perez exclaimed.

“We don’t have a director of voter empowerment at the DNC?” Sharpton asked incredulously, seemingly shocked. “In the middle of this fight about voting rights?” Sharpton exclaimed, seemingly shocked at the absence of a position so essential for a dynamic and growth-oriented political party.

“That’s right, and we need to change this,” Perez said. The candidate said he’s been a fighter all his life, and promised to help better organize the DNC in preparation for 2018 midterms.

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