Debbie Wasserman Schultz out as DNC chair

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It was just announced Democratic National Committee Chair, florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will step down from her position as the chair of the Democratic Party. She has also been removed from any public appearances or roles in this week’s Democratic national Convention, although both the Clinton Campaign and the Sanders organization had agreed she could make a short statement to supporters at the convention. Whether that even takes place or not is still up in the air.

The change comes after the watchdog group Wikileaks disclosed emails detailing efforts by Wasserman Schultz and others to favor the nominee, Hillary Clinton, over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (HFA)
Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (HFA)

On Saturday and in the Sunday Morning talk shows Sanders had said someone at the DNC needed to be held accountable. Sanders and his supporters got their biggest wish answered.

For months the progressive supporting Sanders have demanded Wasserman Schultz be removed as DNC chair, with Wasserman Schultz insisting the primaries were fair and the DNC was not favoring one candidate over another. The Wikileaks email dump has proven that claim was false.

In a statement to the media Wasserman Schultz said, “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. “She also said, “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,” adding, “Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention.”

Democratic Party campaign consultant and party leader Donna Brazile will be the acting chair until the election.

Hillary Clinton issued a statement as well, saying “I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year’s historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week’s events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership. There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie.”

President Obama issued a statement via Twitter:

“For the last eight years, Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had my back.  This afternoon, I called her to let her know that I am grateful.  Her leadership of the DNC has meant that we had someone who brought Democrats together not just for my re-election campaign, but for accomplishing the shared goals we have had for our country.  Her critical role in supporting our economic recovery, our fights for social and civil justice and providing health care for all Americans will be a hallmark of her tenure as Party Chair.  Her fundraising and organizing skills were matched only by her passion, her commitment and her warmth.  And no one works harder for her constituents in Congress than Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Michelle and I are grateful for her efforts, we know she will continue to serve our country as a member of Congress from Florida and she will always be our dear friend.”

Senator Bernie Sanders speaking in San Diego, CA. (John Smith for LAPX)
Senator Bernie Sanders speaking in
San Diego, CA.
(John Smith for LAPX)

Washerman-Schultz has been a lightening rod for friend and opponent alike. Her combative style of politics has brushed Democrats as well as Republicans the wrong way, but she has resisted calls for her resignation for years. The Wikileaks hack finally forced her had.

The people managing the Convention, that starts on Monday, were hoping to have a smooth, well run affair that highlights the party’s unity, a contrast to the Republican National Convention which exposed the deep divisions in the GOP. To that end Wasserman Schultz was pressured to resign by her colleagues so that the party could avoid any ongoing distractions.

For his part, Senator Sanders, despite being extremely critical of the chairwoman throughout his campaign, was magnanimous after her resignation was announced. Although he was pleased with her decision, he did not demonize her in his statement to the media. “Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party. While she deserves thanks for her years of service, the party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people. The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race.”

It remains to be seen if this will have much effect on the convention this week. There are some in the party that believe Wasserman-Schultz’s resignation should have been effective immediately.

Top photo from YouTube video