The candidates running to be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee said Saturday that President Trump’s first week in office drives home the need for the party to regain its footing and join the resistance against the White House.
Democrats are outraged over a series of moves Mr. Trump made this week that put him closer to delivering on controversial campaign promises on the issue of immigration.
“Sign me up for the resistance,” said Peter Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.
“From what we have seen in the last seven days I think we might be under-reacting,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “He took office and immediately took a jackhammer to the foundation of America’s moral authority and on the seventh day he did not rest. He piled outrage upon outrage. He did not rest and neither can we.”
Mr. Trump signed executive orders this week that gutted much of President Obama’s immigration policies. He laid the groundwork for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and proposed a weekly name-and-shame list of “sanctuary cities” and the criminals they release.
Mr. Trump followed that up by imposing a freeze on a visa waiver program for refugees and on the entry of immigrants into the United States from countries deemed to be hotbeds for terrorism. Along the way he put a full-stop on all refugees from war-torn Syria.
The decisions sparked protests Saturday at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York after refugees were detained as result of the executive order. A similar protest at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia was joined Saturday afternoon by that state’s governor, Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Meanwhile in Houston, the new immigration freeze announced by Mr. Trump hung over the DNC “Future Forum,” where the 11 candidates running for DNC chair made their case.
Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, said Mr. Trump’s targeting of “sanctuary cities” is a reminder of how much is at stake for the party and the nation.
“Unless Democrats get elected, we are going to see real pain and suffering from our friends, our neighbors and people we care about,” Mr. Ellison said.
Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, meanwhile, said he has been thinking a lot about the photograph of Omran Dagneesh, the 5-year-old little Syrian boy whose soot-covered face helped bring focus to Syrian refugees, who are now indefinitely suspended from being admitted into the United States.
“There should always be room in this county for the Omran Dagneeshes of the world, and the assault on our values has begun,” Mr. Perez said. “The Democratic Party has to be part of the resistance.”
Rounding out the field of DNC candidates are: New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley; South Carolina Democratic Chair Jaime Harrison, Sally Boynton Brown, executive director of Idaho Democrats; former Fox News commentator Jehmu Greene; Peter Peckarsky of Wisconsin, Sam Ronan of Ohio, Vincent Tolliver of Georgia and Robert Vinson Brannum from the District.
The 447 members of the DNC will cast their votes for a next chair next month in Atlanta.
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