The Democratic Party chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is resigning under pressure as a stunning leadership shakeup as party officials gather in Philadelphia to nominate Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee. Wasserman Schultz’s announcement Sunday follows an outrage over hacked emails suggesting the Democratic National Committee favored Hilary Clinton during the primaries, even though she claimed she was neutral.
In a statement, Wasserman Schultz said she will step down at the end of the four-day convention which begins today. She said she plans to formally open and close the convention, as well as address delegates but didn’t address the email scandal.
The leaked emails made the Democratic primary runner-up Bernie Sanders to call for Wasserman Schultz’s immediate resignation.
Wasserman Schultz will still open and close the convention, she said in a statement, and “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,” the statement continued.
Donna Brazile, former Al Gore campaign manager and Bill Clinton adviser, will be the interim committee chair through the election, according to a verified tweet from the DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda:
In response, Sanders said Wasserman Schultz made “the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party.
President Obama, who appointed Wasserman Schultz in 2011, praised her service saying that “her leadership of the DNC has meant that we had someone who brought Democrats together.”
In a statement, Hillary Clinton thanked her “longtime friend” for her leadership. “There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie.”
Clinton also announced that Wasserman Schultz will serve as honorary chair of the campaign’s “50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country” and that the two will campaign together both to help elect Clinton to the White House and to help with Wasserman Schultz’s Senate re-election campaign.
Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort said Wasserman Schultz resigned over “her failure to secure the DNC’s email servers and the rigged system she set up with the Clinton campaign.”
He said that now Hillary Clinton should follow Wasserman Schultz’s lead and drop out over her failure to safeguard top secret, classified information both on her unauthorized home server and while traveling abroad. Wasserman Schultz’s emails only put the Democratic Party at risk, but Hillary Clinton’s emails put all of America at risk
On NBC’s Meet The Press, Sanders wouldn’t say whether Schultz should be forced to resign before the Democratic convention begins. But some of his supporters went there — commentator and activist Van Jones tweeted that he’ll speak out until she steps down:
She will not have a speaking role at this week’s convention, according to several reports.
Blowback to the emails came from all corners of the political world Sunday — including Clinton supporters and Donald Trump.
Former DNC Chair and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is a Clinton supporter, called the leak “very disturbing” if true and told NPR that the chair’s job should be “to remain neutral.”
“I sat in that chair in 2004 trying to navigate all the different candidates we had,” he said. “But if you had people in there who were trashing one of the candidates, I can tell you this, if I were still chairman they wouldn’t be working there. I mean, that is just totally unacceptable behavior,” he said.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook also called the emails “disturbing” and something that “voters need to reflect on.”
Donald Trump also blasted the emails via Twitter, saying they would make it hard for Sanders to continue supporting Clinton:
But Sanders maintained that his support for Clinton is strong, saying his immediate message to his supporters now is that “disastrous” Donald Trump must be defeated. “My second message is that we continue the political revolution.”