Email Leak Forces DNC Chair to Step Down
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday resisted calls to immediately step down as chairwoman and give up her role in presiding over the party’s convention this week after leaked emails proved the DNC was in tank for Hillary Clinton during the Democratic presidential primary.
Earlier Sunday, CNN reported Wasserman Schultz would not speak or preside at the convention after a cache of more than 19,000 emails leaked on Friday by WikiLeaks revealed DNC officials explored ways to undermine Sanders’ insurgent presidential campaign, including raising questions about whether Sanders, who is Jewish, was really an atheist.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning, Sanders said the release of the DNC emails underscores the position he’s held for months that Wasserman Schultz needs to go. “I don’t think she is qualified to be the chair of the DNC, not only for these awful emails, which revealed the prejudice of the DNC, but also because we need a party that reaches out to working people and young people, and I don’t think her leadership style is doing that,” Sanders told Jake Tapper.
But despite the pressure mounted on her to step down. Wasserman Schultz insisted that she would go ahead and address delegates at the convention kicking off on Monday. “The best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention,” the DNC chairwoman said in a statement on Sunday. “As Party Chair, this week I will open and close the Convention and I will address our delegates about the stakes involved in this election not only for Democrats, but for all Americans.”
In a statement following the announcement, Hillary Clinton praised Wasserman Schultz for taking the fight to the Republicans, totally ignoring the email controversy.
“I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states, Clinton said. “I look forward to campaigning with Debbie in Florida and helping her in her re-election bid–because as President, I will need fighters like Debbie in Congress who are ready on day one to get to work for the American people.”
CNN reported that co-chair Donna Brazile will take over as interim head of the DNC.
Jewish Democratic leaders expressed their gratitude to Wasserman Schultz for her using her influential role as leader of the DNC for the benefit of the Jewish community.
Greg Rosenbaum, Chair of the NJDC Board of Directors, said in a statement: “Before I became involved with NJDC in any capacity, Debbie told me how she had, early on in her career, been a staffer for the organization. She spoke with such enthusiasm about the organization that I decided, then and there, to volunteer my time and support for NJDC. Some time after that, on the day that she was elected party chair, she sought me out at a reception in her honor to ask if I would get involved with Jewish American Heritage Month. The legislation authorizing JAHM had been the first bill she sponsored when she joined the House and she thought JAHM could use some business experience on its board. Out of a lot of well-qualified people to take on that role, she chose me. For my involvement in both NJDC and JAHM, among the most rewarding times of my life, I will forever be in Debbie’s debt. Though this chapter of her public life may be closing, I have no doubt that Debbie will continue to have a very influential role in the American Jewish community.”
Marc Stanley, immediate past chair of NJDC, added, “I am personally sad that she is resigning, but am very grateful for her service and looking forward to honoring her for her years of service Monday ,when we pay tribute to the history of Jewish women in the Democratic Party from Bella Abzug to Debbie Wasserman Schultz and again Thursday, when we honor all current and former Jewish members of Congress and give special recognition to Debbie for all of her years with the party. ”
Read the DNC statement in full below:
Statement From DNC Chair On Presiding Convention and Concluding Tenure
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued the following statement:
“I have been privileged to serve as the DNC Chair for five and a half years helping to re-elect President Obama and Vice President Biden, strengthening our State Party Partnership in all 50 states, leading a vigorous primary election this past year while preparing for the general election and representing millions of Democrats across the country. I couldn’t be more excited that Democrats are nominating our first woman presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, a friend I have always believed in and know will be a great President.
“We arrived here in Philadelphia with the most inclusive and progressive platform the party has ever proposed and a unified recommendation from the Rules Committee on our path forward as Democrats. I am proud of my role in leading these efforts.
“My first priority has always been serving the people of the 23rd district of Florida and I look forward to continuing to do that as their member of Congress for years to come. As the mother of my three amazing children and the Representative of Florida’s 23rd congressional district, I know that electing Hillary Clinton as our next president is critical for America’s future. I look forward to serving as a surrogate for her campaign in Florida and across the country to ensure her victory.
“Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention. As Party Chair, this week I will open and close the Convention and I will address our delegates about the stakes involved in this election not only for Democrats, but for all Americans. We have planned a great and unified Convention this week and I hope and expect that the DNC team that has worked so hard to get us to this point will have the strong support of all Democrats in making sure this is the best convention we have ever had.
“I’ve been proud to serve as the first woman nominated by a sitting president as Chair of the Democratic National Committee and I am confident that the strong team in place will lead our party effectively through this election to elect Hillary Clinton as our 45th president.”
During her historic five and a half year tenure, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
– Reinvested in the State Party Partnerships that were the hallmark of the 50 State Strategy begun by one of her predecessors.
– Successfully paid off the 2012 election debt entirely.
– Increased investments in the state parties by 50% over the previous baseline, while investing in national infrastructure like our voter file, communications, digital and research support for state parties that’s making a difference nationwide.
– Has been a fierce advocate and tireless fighter for progressive ideals and the safety and security of hardworking American families.
– The DNC has stood up the coordinated campaigns our Party needs to win up and down the ballot in November.
– The Party has recruited, trained, and mobilized top talent in everything from research, to communications, to social media and voter targeting. That means that in addition to the data and analytics advantage our Party has leveraged in the last two presidential elections, we now have a field and outreach edge in battleground states.
– Advanced the most progressive platform in Party history, bringing the broad spectrum of our party together and integrating the best ideas of our campaigns.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has served her constituents in South Florida for nearly 25 years after having been the youngest woman elected to the Florida state legislature – at 26 – and the first Jewish woman elected to the U.S. Congress from the state of Florida.
She’s used her voice and her vote to support a $15 minimum wage, was a champion for the Affordable Care Act, and is the lead sponsor in Congress to fully fund the Zika virus crisis which is a major health concern in her home state of Florida and across the country.