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Sparking Progressive Fury, Tom Perez Says DNC Would Continue to Back Any Democrat Who Votes for Kavanaugh

"The invisible chokehold of big money vs. people, vs. the testimony of women on gruesome display. Again."

"What’s the point of electing Dems to swing districts (if that's the excuse) if they don’t vote with Dems?" asked progressive activist Nomiki Konst. (Photo: Texas Tribune Festival/Screengrab)

Even as he continues to denounce Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as an enormous threat to women and declare that the judge's sham confirmation process is a "vivid illustration" of why it's crucial for Democrats to retake the Senate in November, Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez outraged progressives on Friday by suggesting that the DNC would continue to stand behind any Democrat who decides to vote yes on Kavanaugh.

Asked by Wall Street Journal reporter Reid Epstein if the DNC would "continue to work to reelect Democratic senators if they vote" for Kavanaugh, Perez briefly ducked and dodged before finally answering, "Of course we're going to continue."

While several red-state Democrats who were previously viewed as possible yes votes for Kavanaugh—such as Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.)—vowed to vote against his confirmation after hearing the compelling testimony of his accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) are still undecided.

Watch Perez's comment, which came during an on-stage interview at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, Texas on Friday:

Perez's remarks were quickly denounced by progressives as both an egregious political mistake and a betrayal of the millions of women and allies who have been working tirelessly to defeat Kavanaugh, who has been credibly accused of sexual assault.

"Basically that gives them a pass. Not smart. This is why we lose so much ground to the GOP," James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute, wrote on Twitter. "They're carnivores and we play too nice. This isn't just any issue, it's a defining issue for what kind of country we will be."

"When you say that it's fine for Democrats to back [Kavanaugh], you are saying that the rage and anguish and fear that people—especially women—feel about his potential confirmation is meaningless to you!" wrote Splinter's Jack Mirkinson. "This is not complicated."

"At this point," Mirkinson concluded, "voting against Brett Kavanaugh should be the most basic thing possible for anyone calling themselves a Democrat!"

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