Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who faced increasing calls to step down in the wake of the DNC email leak, says she will resign from her position after taking part in this week’s convention.
Congresswoman Wasserman, who served as DNC chairperson since May 2011, announced her decision in a statement released on Sunday afternoon, though she made no mention of the controversial emails that were released by WikiLeaks.
“Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention,” Schultz said in the statement, after outlining her goals. “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.”
Schultz added: “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.”
On Friday, WikiLeaks released 19,252 emails that were stolen from the Democratic National Committee and allegedly show a bias among top staffers against the campaign of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who was the main opponent of Hillary Clinton and who is now the party’s presumptive nominee for president.
Sanders welcomed the announcement, saying Schultz 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,” he said.
Sanders added: “The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race.”
Shortly after the announcement, Clinton announced that Schultz had agreed to serve as honorary chair of her campaign’s 50-state program to “gain ground and elect Democrats” across the United States, sparking renewed anger. Schultz will also continue to serve as a surrogate for the Clinton campaign.
“I want to thank my longtime friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her leadership of the Democratic National Committee over the past five years,” Clinton said. “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.”
President Barack Obama praised the work of Schultz in a separate 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,” he said.
The Democratic National Convention, during which Clinton is expected to be confirmed as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, is scheduled to start on Monday and will end on Thursday. It takes place in Philadelphia.
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