A lot has changed since the Democratic National Committee picked Milwaukee for its national convention. TMJ4's Charles Benson talked with the party's Chairman Tom Perez about the DNC political convention, pandemic and protests.
Benson: Where are we right now in this country on the conversation around the use of police force? Is this the eye of a storm?
Perez: You know, civil rights has always been the unfinished business of America and the senseless murder of George Floyd has laid bare what I saw in my work.
Chairman Tom Perez has seen and participated in the George Floyd protests. As a former civil rights attorney, he credits former Vice President Joe Biden for help passing a law that allowed the Justice Department to take a deep dive into police department's patterns and practices.
"What's the use of force policies? What's the role of the community in all of these investigations? We gave the community a seat at the table," said Perez.
President Trump responded to the unrest during a speech at the White House.
Watch Charles' full interview with DNC Chair Perez:
"America needs creation, not destruction; cooperation, not contempt; security, not anarchy; healing, not hatred; justice, not chaos," the president said.
Benson: Is this a good sign that the economy is beginning to recover from the coronavirus shutdown?
Perez: I always want more people to be back at work as soon as possible. That should always be our goal.
The economy surprised even the experts by gaining 2.5 million jobs in May, with unemployment falling to 13.3 percent. But Perez, a former Labor Secretary,says it's not the time for the Trump administration to be spiking the football.
"We were 42 points behind in the football game and know we're about 35 points behind," said Perez. "African American unemployment ticked up last month."
President Trump campaign spokesperson Anna Kelly says: "President Trump has taken every possible step, including efforts like the Paycheck Protection Program to protect the American economy. This month's jobs report proves that his work is paying off."
Perez says Democrats are still planning to be in Milwaukee for their convention but the "precise contours of the convention remain to be seen."
Benson: Can you say with certainty it will be an in-person convention the week of August 17th?
Perez: Well, I'm looking forward to being in Milwaukee the week of the 17th, and I'm looking forward to having a safe, exciting convention in Wisconsin.
Perez knows they need to reach a decision as soon as possible.
"People tend to speak as if you either have you have a binary choice. You either don't do a convention or you do a full convention. We have given flexibility to our team to figure out what is the best interests of the public health imperative of the moment and it maybe that it's something in between."