Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) pulled out as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee the day before the party’s convention gets underway in Philadelphia — but her resignation isn’t effective immediately.
Wasserman Schultz appeared in public Saturday with presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton at the candidate’s first rally with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in Miami.
“Friends, we made history when we nominated President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden eight years ago. Now we’re ready for Hillary! And we’re ready to make history once more when she accepts our party’s nomination to become the 45th president of the United States!” Wasserman Schultz told the crowd.
“And starting today, she’s got a new ally in her corner, a new fighter on her team. He’s a man that I have had the privilege of fighting alongside both at our Democratic headquarters and under the Capitol dome… From now until Election Day, we have to keep saying it loud and proud: I’m with her.”
At the same time, Wikileaks was flooding the internet with DNC correspondence showing the party trying to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) from getting the nomination and mocking the senator’s campaign.
Sanders speaks at the convention Monday. His spokesman Michael Briggs said the senator plans to “make it clear that Hillary Clinton is by far superior to Donald Trump on every major issue from economics and health care to education and the environment.”
Wasserman Schultz’s resignation won’t be effective until the end of the week.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
She had reportedly been under intense pressure from leading Dems to step down.
Clinton issued a statement thanking “longtime friend” Wasserman Schultz for “her leadership of the Democratic National Committee over the past five years.”
“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,” Clinton said. “There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie — which is why I am glad that she has agreed to serve as honorary chair of my campaign’s 50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states.”
“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.”
Wasserman Schultz was co-chairwoman of Clinton’s 2008 White House run.
President Obama issued a statement stressing that “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,” Obama said. “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.”
The president added that 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,” he said. “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.”
A Sanders backer, professor Tim Canova, is challenging Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s Aug. 30 Democratic primary. Canova was initially denied access to the voter database by the state party.
Sanders has endorsed Canova.