Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is all about efficiency – and not just when it comes to state programs. His rousing lunchtime speech to Pennsylvania delegates at the DoubleTree Philadelphia’s Ormandy Ballroom clocked in at an economical eight minutes.
DePasquale – who missed the first two days of the Democratic National Convention because of last-minute work on his landmark audit of the Department of Health’s oversight of state nursing homes – immediately launched into why he felt it was so important to address the crowd.
Speaking just minutes after Donald Trump’s press conference calling for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, DePasquale was incredulous. Allowing Trump into the White House, he said, would be entering “the world of Crazyland, Looney Tunes, Bugs Bunny – I’m not kidding you when I say this – he wants the Russian government to hack Hillary’s emails. I wish I was making this up.”
Amid his criticism of the Republican candidate, the auditor general quickly pivoted to bolster the Democratic one. “It is upon all of us to not just be against Donald Trump but also to be for Hillary, for her agenda,” he told the crowd. “It is about moving the country forward. It’s real easy to forget what it was like in January of 2009” when President Barack Obama was sworn into office, “what it was like in January of 1993 when President Clinton was sworn in. Let Donald Trump be sworn in, and the next Democratic president will have an even bigger mess to clean up.”
In an interview following his appearance, DePasquale – who has been garnering an increasingly high profile for his front-page audits of state programs and institutions that have uncovered shortcomings like 42,000 phone calls to the state’s child abuse hotline going unanswered – was no less direct.
“Some of the messages of Donald Trump disturb me,” he said. “His approach to foreign affairs, the casual retweets of white supremacists, even the Megyn Kelly thing” – in which Trump attacked the Fox News personality for asking him pointed questions during a GOP primary debate – “there is a pattern there. The way he tries to bully people is disturbing, so I wanted to come here and share my thoughts on why it’s important we not take this election for granted.”
In rejecting a Trump presidency, DePasquale drew on his record of holding officials and institutions accountable.
“I am hopeful that people are paying attention to what both campaigns are saying,” DePasquale said. “If you are, what Secretary Clinton is saying – she is presenting a case to build on past successes, saying we are not only a great country but we can be even greater. On accountability, no one is perfect – I know I’m not perfect – but everyone I run into wants more accountability” from their elected officials and their government in general.