"I think we need a new chair who is going to lead us in a very different direction," Sanders said
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will resign following Senator Bernie Sanders‘ call for her to to step down on Sunday after email leaks showed officials attempting to aid Hillary Clinton‘s campaign in the party’s primary.
According to the Washington Post, Wasserman Schultz’s resignation takes effect at the end of the Democratic National Convention, which starts Monday and ends Thursday.
At that point, former Gore 2000 campaign manager Donna Brazile will take the reins at party headquarters and serve through Election Day in November, DNC communications director Luis Miranda tweeted in the fallout of Wasserman Schultz’s bombshell.
The Florida congresswoman announced her resignation in a statement Sunday afternoon, saying she remains committed to seeing Clinton elected president.
“Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention,” Wasserman Schultz said in her 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 said. “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.”
President Barack Obama released a statement thanking the Chairwoman for her work during his term.
“For the last eight years, Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had my back,” the president said in his statement. “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.”
Clinton also released a statement thanking the Democratic leader and announcing she agreed to serve as honorary chair of the Clinton campaign’s 50-state program “to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country.”
“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,” Clinton said.
This morning, Sanders called for Wasserman Schultz to step down after WikiLeaks released about 20,000 emails on Friday which appear to show Democratic National Committee officials, including Wasserman Schultz, attempting to undermine Sander’s campaign and aid Clinton.
“I think she should resign, period, and I think we need a new chair who is going to lead us in a very different direction,” Sanders said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.
One email exchange suggested bringing up Sanders religious beliefs as a way to hurt his campaign in parts of the country.
“It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WA can we get someone to ask his belief,” Brad Marshall, CFO of DNC, wrote in a May 5th email. “Does he believe in God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My southern baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”
Amy Dacey, CEO of the DNC, subsequently responded AMEN, according to the emails.
Sanders also told CNN on Sunday that the leaked emails were “outrageous but not a great shock.”
The Vermont senator said the emails prove that the party favored Clinton from the start.
“Well, I think 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 This Week. “So what I suggested to be true 6 months ago turns out in fact to be true.”
• Reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL