Prepared Remarks for Delivery: DNC Chair Rep. Wasserman Schultz

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz addressed a meeting of the Democratic National Convention Mid-Atlantic Democratic Platform Forum. Below you will find remarks as prepared for delivery:

“On behalf of the Democratic National Committee, thank you for being here today, thank you for accepting this important assignment, and thank you for all that you do as leaders in our party. These are exciting times!  We only get one of these elections every four years. It is our opportunity to remind the American people of who we are, what we stand for and what we have to offer as a party.           

“At the DNC we’ve been working every day to prepare for the general election and to hold Donald Trump accountable for all of the shameful, racist things he says, and his reprehensible plans to take our country backwards…Needless to say, he’s been keeping us very, very busy, but we’re not taking anything for granted. That means it’s time to make sure we’re putting the spotlight on the many reasons Americans have to vote against Trump…

“Like the fact that he swindled hardworking seniors, veterans and families out of their savings with his fraudulent university; or the fact that that he rooted for the foreclosure crisis…The list gets pretty long, and I don’t want to keep you here all day.

“But there is one issue in particular that’s worth taking a moment to pause on, and it’s what Donald Trump said this past week about a federal judge who was born in Indiana. If he truly believes that a person’s ethnic heritage can disqualify them from serving as a judge, what’s to stop him from going further? From saying someone’s race, gender, religion  or sexual orientation could be used to strip them of other rights and opportunities? The right to hold elected office? Or their right to vote?

“Frankly, with this episode more than any other, Trump has disqualified himself from holding a position as important as the presidency. And we’re going to keep holding him accountable. But it’s not enough to just give voters a reason to vote against Trump. It’s time to gear up for the General Election and give the American people a clear vision of what they’ll be voting for when they cast their ballot for a Democrat.

“That’s the vital task you undertake today. We are here to kick off a process where we can share with the American people what the Democratic Party stands for, and leave no doubt that it is our Party that shares their values and speaks to their aspirations. And it is your task – the task of the Platform Committee, and the Platform Drafting Subcommittee, to bring together voices from across our Party, from all of our campaigns, and from our voters. This is an open process, and it’s a hallmark of the Democratic Party.  Every cycle we do more and more to engage and include the American people. 

“This year, we made sure our campaigns were represented fully, so 75% of the members of this drafting committee were recommended by our presidential candidates. And when we’re done, this process and our convention will be the most representative and inclusive in history. Arriving at a consensus will no doubt be a difficult task, but I am confident that the process will be a success.

“That’s in no small measure because of our Committee Chair. We are enormously fortunate to have a man of unquestionable integrity, extraordinary legislative experience, and a lifetime of dedication to Democratic ideals chairing this committee: Congressman Elijah Cummings – which is why I asked him to take on this responsibility.

“Through his leadership, Congressman Cummings will ensure that we have a fair, open and inclusive process, consistent with our shared values.   I have the utmost confidence and faith in his ability to accomplish the task at hand. And when your job is complete, we’ll head into our convention ready to make our case to the American people.

“Our phenomenal convention CEO, Leah Daughtry will talk about the convention in a moment, but before I hand it over, I want to take a brief look at what our last platform meant to our nation and our people to give you a sense of what this work means for our future.

“Our 2012 Party platform called on Democrats to continue rebuilding the middle class after the Great Recession and to put more Americans back to work. Under President Obama, we’ve had 75 consecutive months of economic growth and 14 million new private sector jobs created. Our 2012 party platform called for reducing the deficit and making the tax code more progressive. Under President Obama we’ve cut our deficits by almost three-quarters, and most Americans saw some tax relief while top earners now pay a little more of their fair share.

“On National Security, our party platform recognized that the cornerstone of our engagement with the world is our commitment to building strong alliances, which were badly damaged under the Bush administration. As promised in our platform, President Obama has promoted American national security by strengthening our relationships with key allies around the world.

“We have worked with our NATO allies in Europe, and continue to work with our strategic partners to counter emerging threats in the Middle East and Asia. The President has made it clear to our allies around the world that our democratic values will continue to drive our foreign policy. He just returned from a historic visit to Japan – making him the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima, strengthening our Asia-Pacific relations. Instead of the isolationism coming from the other side, he recognizes that we must work with Mexico and our neighbors in the Americas as equal partners based on mutual interest and mutual respect. He has stood against provocations from countries like North Korea, and his actions have made clear that we will continue to stand strong with our stalwart allies including Israel, and ensure her security.  

“Our party platform called on Democrats to stand up for the Affordable Care Act and defend the dream of universal health care against the Republican calls for its repeal. Just last month, for the first time in our nation’s history, ninety percent of Americans had access to affordable health care. Ninety percent! That number alone doesn’t do justice to all that it represents – the diseases and cancers cured, wounds healed, lives extended, comfort for the dying and peace for families.

“The concrete accomplishments of the Obama era are too numerous and great to list here today, but one thing is clear – on issue after issue when Democrats are elected WE deliver on the promises of our party platform, and our nation is stronger for it. Our people are more prosperous; Our allies can depend on a stable, smart foreign policy; Our people are healthier and more productive; Our seniors can depend on a more secure retirement; and Our children can depend on the promise of a brighter future, full of opportunity; And on each one of these issues, we know that Donald Trump would only drag us backward. Even though we’ve come a long way, we have much more to fight for, much farther to go, and that work begins anew, right now.

“All of you will help to determine the path for building on our progress. It’s up to you to show the American people what the next Democratic president of the United States, and Democrats up and down the ballot stand for.

“As Chair of the DNC, the only request I have is that you come together and offer the American people a platform that reflects their hopes, dreams and aspirations; a platform that attracts an electorate as diverse as our country itself; a platform that prizes optimism and action over obstruction and inaction, that places people over profit, and unity over division.

“This is a complex task with no perfect answers.  Everything is on the table. And nothing is off limits. When you disagree try to do it without being disagreeable. And do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We all believe in building a government that works, and that works well in service to the people. We all believe that we can have both economic growth and economic fairness, and that this is not an “either-or” proposition. I hope that in this process, you will be guided by the traditional tenets of our party, but not confined by them.

“And I know that the document you deliver will reflect the great diversity of our nation and set the stage for historic Democratic victories this November! Now it’s my great honor to introduce my friend and our Convention CEO, the incomparable Rev. Leah Daughtry!”