Former White Press Secretary Dana Perino told PJM that unifying the Republican Party after the primary is going to be “very important and difficult” for the nominee.
She said if the GOP does not unite, the Democrats will win the White House.
Perino also told PJM that adopting “conservative principles” could help millennials, especially those that are struggling economically.
“Now millennials represent 83 million Americans, it’s the largest generation, they’re voting in huge numbers and it’s a generation that has a lot of promise. They take a lot of flack, which I don’t think is all deserved, but also they are struggling economically with jobs and I think conservative principles could actually help them,” Perino said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “I want to try to convince them of that but I need to understand it better. But I came here not just to inform, but to learn.”
According to several sources, the unemployment rate among millennials is well-above the national figure.
Perino, a co-host on the Fox News show The Five, was asked if she agrees with those who attribute the record turnout among GOP primary voters in many states to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
“It’s not only that. I think it is eight years of President Obama and a desire for change, writ-large. I do think Donald Trump’s absolutely added a lot of attention into it so people are looking not only just on cable news but on social media, so it grows in that way,” she said.
“I think people realize if they want to change the direction of the country they have to participate and democracy is a participatory sport. If you sit on the sidelines, you will get Hillary Clinton,” she added.
Perino declined to share her opinion of the specific candidates.
“My new life of the last six years is where I am a news analyst, and I love that job and I don’t have a particular candidate. If anybody asks me who would be a great president I always say my old boss, George W. Bush,” she said.
Trump was scheduled to speak at CPAC on Saturday morning but canceled on Friday. Perino was asked if she thought it was a good or bad decision.
“I don’t have all the information he had. I do think he would have been welcomed here. He had been welcomed here in the past and John Kasich got a standing ovation here today; so did Ben Carson,” she said. “I found it a very polite crowd. I also know that regardless of who wins the nomination, consolidating and unifying the party is going to be very, very important and difficult, so I would have taken the opportunity to come.”
Perino added that “if Republicans don’t unite, for sure, the Democrats will win. But let’s give it a couple weeks — we have some voting left to take place.”