Labor Secretary Tom Perez Whiffs Painfully on Foreign Policy During Veep Audition


As the Republican and Democratic conventions draw near, the Veepstakes race is heating up, too, and on Sunday, four Democratic shortlisters took to the Sunday shows to strut their vice-presidential stuff. For Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, things were going pretty well on Meet the Press until host Chuck Todd asked Perez to weigh in on foreign policy, a topic that’s already a steep obstacle for anyone seeking the two highest offices in the land.

Since the kind of experience necessary for the job of commander-in-chief is nigh impossible to come by, you’d better at least have some ideas, but in one short minute, Secretary Perez demonstrated neither when Todd asked him to explain his foreign policy philosophy:

CHUCK TODD: Look, I know you’ve been very hesitant about answering any V.P. questions and the vetting questions. But let me ask this, since it’s clear your name is somewhere in the mix. Tell me how you would describe your foreign policy philosophy.

TOM PEREZ: Well, I haven’t run a Ms. Universe pageant, and I don’t own any golf courses in Scotland, Chuck, so I don’t have what Donald Trump has, and I’m very sorry about that. But, you know, it’s all about judgment. And Donald Trump is such a volatile individual. And what I have seen working with Secretary Clinton is that she is a steady hand. We are in the midst of a very challenging set of circumstances around the world. And you need someone with a steady hand. And Secretary Clinton, with her experience, with her steady hand, and with her sound judgment. Judgment is what it’s all about. And I think she has exercised sound judgment throughout.

Todd gave Secretary Perez a second bite of sorts, asking him what he sees as the “biggest threat that faces the next administration internationally,” but Perez didn’t do much better, hesitantly ticking off “foreign terrorism” and European right-wing politics before pivoting back to Trump Bad, Hillary Good.

The worst part about this is that Perez seemed to expect the question, and had those Donald Trump quips at the ready, but not a single thought of his own about foreign policy. Now, the electorate might cut a running mate some slack when it comes to an already-challenging aspect of the job to prove you’re qualified for, but Secretary Perez already has a thin resume when it comes to the experience usually associated with the presidency. Anyone else who expects to be Hillary Clinton‘s VP needs to come up with a better answer for this question, which in this case would mean any answer at all.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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