Rubio says he'll 'strongly oppose' Obama's labor secretary nominee Perez
Sen. Marco Rubio said today he'll "strongly oppose" the confirmation of Thomas Perez as labor secretary. Perez is President Obama's only Hispanic nominee this term, and Rubio acknowledged the politics of opposing a fellow son of immigrants, complimenting Perez's "sharp intellect" even as he trashed him as a liberal.
In a news conference yesterday, Hispanic lawmakers warned Republicans not to block Perez. “Tom Perez is eminently qualified for this job,” freshman Rep. Joe Garcia, a Florida Democrat, said in an interview with McClatchy. “If Republicans wanted to show an understanding of the Hispanic electorate or sympathy for the Hispanic electorate, they picked the wrong guy to make a scapegoat.”
But Rubio was blunt in his criticism.
“Before joining the Obama Administration, Mr. Perez built a long record as a committed liberal activist and politician, particularly in the areas of labor and immigration. It was that record that gave many senators pause over his initial nomination to be Assistant U.S. Attorney General. Those who voted against his confirmation then feared that he lacked the capacity to put his political agenda aside when he became a federal official tasked with enforcing the law. Unfortunately, his record as Assistant U.S. Attorney General confirmed those fears," Rubio said in a statement.
“During his tenure at the Justice Department, Mr. Perez has been associated with some of the Department’s most controversial decisions and appears to have engaged in selective and politically motivated applications of the law. The Department of Justice’s own Inspector General recently concluded that the division led by Mr. Perez continues to suffer from ‘polarization and mistrust.’
“As the son of immigrants, Mr. Perez rose from modest beginnings to the highest levels of government through his obviously sharp intellect and impressive work ethic. Many Americans, especially those of us of Hispanic descent, celebrate his success and his personal story as yet another example of all that’s possible in America no matter where you or your family came from. Unfortunately, intellect and work ethic are not sufficient qualifications for a cabinet secretary.
“Mr. Perez’s far left views and troubling record at the Justice Department simply do not qualify him to lead the Labor Department, and I will strongly oppose his confirmation.”