Tom Perez is the new DNC chairman
He was Obama's labor secretary
Editor’s Note: WARNING: This post contains profanity and language readers might find offensive.
Democrats in the post-2016 world have potty mouths.
Swearing has become such a part of Democratic stump speeches that profane clips have become routine in Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez’s speeches. With children on stage behind him, Perez told an audience in Las Vegas this weekend that Trump “doesn’t give a shit about health care.”
Perez, President Barack Obama’s former labor secretary, made similar comments earlier this year.
“They call it a skinny budget, I call it a shitty budget,” Perez said in Portland, Maine.
Maybe it’s a calculated move to conjure up excitement. Maybe it’s a direct response to the President Donald Trump, who repeatedly riled up campaign crowds with expletives incorporated into policy pronouncements. Whatever the motivation, it appears to be a trend – and it’s not just Perez.
Political profanity is not entirely unique – plenty of lawmakers have cursed in public before. But the fact that Democrats have leaned into swearing months after being defeated by Trump – an often off-the-cuff and at-times profane candidate – signals that as much as the opposing party maligns the President, they also want to crib some of his unpredictable style.
The DNC has also followed the lead of its new chairman. Earlier this month they began selling a t-shirt that read, “Democrats give a shit about people.”
“Tom is angry, and he’s angry because Donald Trump continues to stick it to the American people,” Xochitl Hinojosa, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement. “Whether it’s attempting to kick people off their health care or making it harder to buy a home, his policies are hurting our country, and Tom will continue to stand up to Trump and his administration on behalf of the American people.”
Though Democrats obviously see an upside to swearing, there are obvious downsides, too. Perez’s swearing in front of kids raised eyebrows over the weekend and caused some to question the reason behind it. There is also the risk of seeming inauthentic: Politicians are not known for their bluntness, so swearing in a scripted speech can, at times, appear forced.
The chairman’s comments in Las Vegas are just the latest in a long line of Democratic swears since Trump was elected to the presidency.
“If we’re not helping people, we should go the fuck home,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, said in a recent interview with New York Magazine.
Gillibrand also told the magazine that she had “no fucking clue” how to pass a bill when she started in the Senate and recalled anxiety dreams she was having where she forgets to “fucking order” Girl Scout cookies from a friend.
And the swearing has made its way onto the campaign trail, too.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Texas Democrat who plans to challenge Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, has taken to saying “shit” on the campaign trial.
O’Rourke slammed Cruz earlier this month for campaigning all over the country, something he said signals the Republican is “sure as shit not serving” his constituents.
He has also used the swearing in interviews, describing Obamacare in an interview with Politico bluntly: “That shit doesn’t work.”
The swearing follows a campaign where Trump, known for his blunt talk and his love of bashing political correctness, made swearing a part of his stump speech.
Trump regularly said he would “bomb the shit out of ISIS,” and labeled an instance of his opponents’ cooperating as “political bullshit.”
Bashing the way the United States spent money in Iraq, Trump said in 2011: “In the meantime, we can’t get a fucking school built in Brooklyn.”
Trump, in the same speech, also bashed elected officials for not ordering the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to stop raising oil prices.
“We have nobody in Washington that sits back and says ‘you are not going to raise the fucking price,’ ” Trump told supporters in Las Vegas.
Of course, none of these politicians are the first to swear in public, but doing it routinely, on-purpose in front of crowds is a departure.
Sen. John. Kerry of Massachusetts, during his 2004 presidential campaign, said in a magazine interview he didn’t expect President George W. Bush to “fuck (the country) up” as much as he did. And Bush, during his 2000 presidential campaign, was caught on an open mic calling a reporter a “major-league asshole.”
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report