DNC Chairman Tom Perez says 2020 Democrats need to talk more about foreign policy, calls Trump and advisers 'trigger happy'

Bolton Pompeo TrumpJohn Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Donald TrumpAP Photo/Andrew Harnik

  • DNC Chairman Tom Perez on Wednesday told INSIDER that 2020 Democrats need to make a concerted effort to address foreign policy on the campaign trail moving forward.
  • "When you have a trigger happy president and you have a situation where we could be at war again because of his recklessness, that's something we have to discuss," Perez said in reference to recent tensions with Iran.
  • In a broad field of candidates, discussions on foreign policy have been decidedly limited this campaign season thus far.
  • Visit Business Insider's home page for more stories.

MIAMI - President Donald Trump has ratcheted up tensions with Iran, is waging a trade war with China, and might hold yet another summit with North Korea over its nuclear program.

Meanwhile, he's alienated the US from key allies via his relentless criticism of NATO and decisions such as pulling the US from the Paris climate accord.

If Trump is not reelected in 2020, whomever enters the White House will have his or her work cut out for them on the global stage.

This is precisely why Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said it's vital that 2020 Democrats talk more about foreign policy on the campaign trail so that voters know where they stand.

So far, few of the 24 candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic nomination have prioritized talking about global affairs at length. There are understandable reasons for this, given voters tend to cite issues like health care as their top concerns. But Perez on Wednesday told INSIDER that Democratic candidates need to find the time to address foreign policy moving forward.

Read more: DNC Chairman Tom Perez says Trump needs to 'stop tweeting and start working' on the 'humanitarian crisis' at the border

"We have to talk about foreign policy," Perez said, because we have "a trigger happy president surrounded by trigger happy advisers like John Bolton" who pushes allies away and "disrespects" NATO. Trump has created a "perfect storm" and the US is "less strong as a nation today because we have demonstrated clearly to our allies that we may not have their back when they need us."

Perez said it "shouldn't come as a surprise" that Trump is struggling to get allies on board with his maximum pressure campaign against Iran, going on to criticize the president's decision to pull the US from the Iran nuclear deal.

"Are we safer now than we were four years ago? I don't think so, not under this president," Perez said.

Read more: DNC Chairman Tom Perez still won't hold a climate-change-focused debate, despite mounting pressure from Democratic activists

"Foreign policy is an issue that all too frequently doesn't get the attention it deserves. But when you have a trigger happy president and you have a situation where we could be at war again because of his recklessness, that's something we have to discuss," Perez added. "I'm confident in the course of these debates we will discuss it, because the current reality on the ground demands that the voters learn more about what the positions of the candidates are."

Perez went on to say candidates need to make clear their "capacity to respond in an appropriate manner" to crises like that which the US is facing with Iran at present.

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