Florida Congresswoman falling out of favor fast
PHILADELPHIA – Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday she is stepping down as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee at the end of the party’s convention, which is set to begin here today. She has been given a speaking slot tonight at the convention but it is not yet clear if she will speak.
The Florida congresswoman’s resignation — under heavy pressure from top Democrats — comes amid the release of thousands of leaked emails showing DNC staffers favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the party’s 2016 primary contest.
Her announcement that she was leaving had pro-Sanders supporters cheering during a demonstration in Philadelphia and Donald Trump and other Republicans crowing about the disarray among the Democrats.
She will be replaced by veteran campaign strategist DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile who will serve as interim chair through the election, it was announced Sunday. She had been a CNN political commentator, but CNN and Brazile have mutually agreed to suspend their contract, effective immediately, although she will remain on air during the convention week in an unpaid capacity, CNN said. CNN will revisit the contract once Brazile concludes her role.
Meanwhile, the full time replacement for Wasserman Schultz has already begin with a number of names being tossed around. A long time said Hispanic leaders close to Clinton and her high command were discussing Housing Secretary Julian Castro as a possible successor to Wasserman Schultz at the DNC helm, among a number of other candidates whose name are being mentioned.
Former Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver tried to show a unified Democratic Party on this morning, as he was asked about the Wasserman Schultz resignation.
“This happened, we knew it happened then, now is the time to go forward,’ Weaver told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” on Monday. “Now is the time to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump.”
Wasserman Schultz talked with both President Barack Obama and Clinton before making her announcement, a Democratic source said.
“Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals [which include electing Clinton president] is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention,” Wasserman Schultz said in the statement.
“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,” she continued.
Wasserman Schultz had faced intense pressure over the weekend to quit her post, several Democratic leaders told CNN, urging her to quell a growing controversy threatening to disrupt Clinton’s nominating convention.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid wanted her out even before the leaked DNC emails scandal broke and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t lift a finger to try and save her House colleague, sources said.
Sanders, who will address the convention onight in prime time, issued a statement calling for a new direction for the party that would welcome the working class and young voters — and remain neutral in future Democratic primary contests.
“Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party,” Sanders said.
“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,” he added. “The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race.”.
Party officials decided Saturday that Wasserman Schultz would not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week. The DNC Rules Committee has named Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, as permanent chair of the convention, according to a DNC source. She will gavel each session to order and will gavel each session closed.
Quotes for this story were from Associated Press and CNN – Video is courtesy of CBSN