Former President Barack Obama bears some of the blame for the losses the Democratic Party has suffered in recent years, Rep. Keith Ellison said Wednesday.
During a speech at the University of Minnesota, Ellison — the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee — said Obama needed to do more to help his party during his eight years in the Oval Office.
After saying he backed much of what Obama championed, Ellison said the nation's 44th president "could have been a better party leader and I think the fact that he wasn't put his legacy in jeopardy."
According to The Hill, Ellison said Obama was "great at getting himself elected," but he should have spent more time collaborating with leaders of the party to keep his legacy intact — which Ellison said would have ultimately helped the party overall.
"Your legacy is not a building that he's going to construct in Chicago housing his presidential papers," Ellison said. "His legacy is the work he's done which I believe is tremendous. But given we lost a lot of statehouse seats, governorships, secretary of states, his true legacy is in danger and I think he can't say that he wasn't part of those losses. Who else, right?"
Republicans seized control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections, and four years later the party gained control of the Senate. In 2016, Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the race for president. The GOP now controls both houses of Congress and the White House.
Ellison, who began serving in the House in 2007, lost to Tom Perez in the race to serve as the DNC's chairman earlier this year.
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