On Sunday, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez had a nasty rejoinder to the firestorm of criticism that erupted after the Latino Victory Fund ran a vicious ad accusing Virginia's Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie’s supporters of being racists. Perez called the criticism “crocodile tears.”
Host Chuck Todd of NBC's Meet the Press played a clip of the ad, which depicted a man driving a pick-up truck with a Gillespie campaign sticker, a Tea Party license plate, and a Confederate flag, attempting to run down two Latino boys, an African-American boy, and a Muslim girl. Todd followed by playing a response ad issued by the Republican Party of Virginia.
Todd pointed out that Democrats typically protest when they feel that Republicans stereotype. He added, "Aren't you stereotyping? I drive a pickup truck. Are all pickup truck drivers racist? Do you understand why some people think the ad implies that?"
Perez attempted to deflect:
Let's be clear about what's happening in the race in Virginia and in all too many races: dogwhistle politics. Steve Bannon just endorsed Ed Gillespie in Virginia this morning, and throughout this campaign Ed Gillespie has been fear-mongering. He's been doing the same thing Donald Trump did. That's not fair. That's not right.
Perez then argued that, conversely, Gillespie's Democratic opponent Ralph Northam and lieutenant governor nominee Justin Fairfax were trying to unite people. He continued, "Ed Gillespie, throughout the campaign, has been dividing people. When you hit the bully back and the bully starts crying, those are crocodile tears to me."
Northam told WAVY News that the commercial did not emanate from his campaign, and he would have eschewed running it. But as The Washington Free Beacon notes:
However, public records show that Northam's campaign coordinated with the Latino Victory Fund. It received a large in-kind donation from LVF just one week before the election. The $62,730 donation was for "media" purposes, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.