Democrats gathering for a national convention in Philadelphia to nominate Hillary Clinton for president were rocked by the news Sunday afternoon that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will resign following the release of thousands of hacked emails that put the party in an unflattering light. The emails confirmed that some Democrats had worked behind the scenes to thwart Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign.
Liberal activists who had supported the Vermont senator were outraged by the emails that were revealed last Friday by WikiLeaks, the anti-secretary organization. Sanders – who has had a long standing feud with Wasserman Schultz over what he contended were her high-handed tactics in promoting Clinton’s candidacy over his – renewed his call earlier Sunday for her to resign and to avoid speaking at the four day convention that begins on Monday.
In a statement issued late Sunday afternoon, Schultz, a House member from Florida, said that she would relinquish the reins of the party immediately after the convention concludes with Clinton’s acceptance speech Thursday night.
“I know that electing Hillary Clinton as our next president is critical for America’s future,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to serving as a surrogate for her campaign in Florida and across the country to ensure her victory.”
The WikiLeaks dump of nearly 20,000 DNC hacked emails touched off an uproar over the weekend and provided confirmation of Sanders’ long-standing complaints that the political system had been “rigged” against him through the way debates were scheduled and party rules that frustrated him in trying to bring more independent supporters into the primary contests.
Some of the emails showed that party officials actually worked behind the scenes to discredit his campaign in the eyes of reporters or even raise questions about his Jewish faith – and whether he was an atheist.
Sanders, the self-styled democratic socialist who nearly sidetracked Clinton with his “revolutionary” campaign and anti-Wall Street rhetoric, said during appearances today on several Sunday talk shows that while he was severely disappointed by what he learned from the emails, he would keep his pledge to campaign vigorously to help elect Clinton over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“I told you a long time ago that the DNC was not running a fair operation, that they were supporting secretary Clinton,” Sanders said on ABC News’s This Week. “So what I suggested could be true six months ago turns out in fact to be true. I’m not shocked, but I am disappointed, and that’s the way it is.”
The DNC announced that Donna Brazile, a veteran Democratic strategist and TV commentator, will take over as an interim party chair.