The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee insisted Sunday that GOPs and Democrats “do share common values,” while Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez noted “the debate on the Trumpcare bill is a perfect example of our differences.”
RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel met Perez for the first time in their joint appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, in which host Chuck Todd asked about Pew polling last year that found 55 percent of Democrats fearful of Republicans and 49 percent of Republicans afraid of Democrats.
“I’m not afraid of Democrats,” McDaniel said. “…I think we do have to have more of a dialogue, talk about our differences in a respectful way. Sometimes it gets elevated too much. But we have Democrats in our family, I have Democrats in my family. I’m sure, I hope you have Republicans in your family.”
Perez replied that a party needs to “lead with our values,” then it “can command the respect and support of the majority of the American people.”
“They want secure retirement. They want healthcare. They want a roof over their head,” he added. “Those are not just Democratic values, those are American values.”
McDaniel said the Republican Party “is not the party for the wealthy — we care about everyone.”
“I don’t think bigger government is the way to get things better. I don’t think a failing Obamacare that’s collapsing and insurers are pulling out of the marketplace is the right way to do it. But I do think we would be better having a dialogue, talking about our different paths and how we get to the same solution,” she said. “But I think everybody wants a better life for our kids, better jobs, better wages, better an economy, national security and a strong country.”
Perez stressed that “we believe, as Democrats, that health care is a right for all, not a privilege for a few. And, you know, the Affordable Care Act cut the ranks of the uninsured by almost 50 percent. Was it perfect? No.”
“This is really important. The Affordable Care Act saves lives. I spoke to people. I get approached by people every day. ‘My son is on the autism spectrum. And if I lose the coverage under Medicaid, I’m going to have to institutionalize him,'” he added.
McDaniel argued that the Affordable Care Act “is not affordable” and the GOP is “trying to find solutions to keep … in place” services people rely upon.
“With all due respect, when Tom is saying Republicans don’t give a blank about anyone, when he goes around and says that about the other party, I know Democrats care about other people. We just have a difference of opinion on the path to get there. But that type of rhetoric doesn’t bring people to our parties,” she said.
Perez shot back that “200,000 people will die if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.”
“And that rhetoric is over the top again,” McDaniel retorted. “That rhetoric is over the top.”
“Don’t take my word for it, these are the assessment of people who have looked at the bill,” Perez replied. “22 million people are going to lose their lifeline. The opioid epidemic is very real. It’s a five-alarm fire, and you don’t fight a five-alarm fire with only a gallon of gas, and that’s what they’re trying to do.”
“We’d love for you to be part of it with us,” the RNC chairwoman said. “We’re the only ones manning the station.”