Debbie Wasserman Schultz Resigns as DNC Chair

Following email leak, leader will step down after convention

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Debbie Wasserman Schultz / AP

Debbie Wasserman Schultz will resign her position as chair of the Democratic National Committee following the party’s convention in Philadelphia this week.

"Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals [of winning the presidency for Hillary Clinton] is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention," Wasserman Schultz, who represents Florida in Congress, said in a statement, reported by Politico. "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."

The announcement came after leaked emails showed Wasserman Schultz and other DNC staffers expressing favoritism to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary process.

Earlier this weekend, reports emerged that Wasserman Schultz would neither have a primetime speaking role at the convention in Philadelphia nor serve as convention chairwoman following the leaks.

According to the emails leaked on Friday, Wasserman Schultz referred to Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver as a "damn liar" and an "ASS" in exchanges with colleagues. Another email showed a high-level DNC staffer suggesting that Sanders’ religious beliefs be used against him.

"It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief," DNC CFO Brad Marshall wrote in one of the messages obtained by WikiLeaks. "Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think 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."

Marshall has since apologized.

The Sanders campaign has long accused the DNC chair of favoring Clinton in the primary contest. The Vermont senator also endorsed Wasserman Schultz’s challenger in the South Florida Democratic primary, Tim Canova, bringing him an influx of campaign cash earlier this year.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who was also a Democratic candidate for president, accused the DNC last August of trying to "pre-ordain" the outcome of the primary election by limiting the number of debates.

Clinton celebrated Wasserman Schultz’s leadership in a statement released on Sunday.

"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. There’s simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie," Clinton said.

DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile, who also appears on CNN as a political commentator, is expected to serve as interim chair of the party through the November election. The previous vice chair of the DNC, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii), resigned in February in order to endorse Sanders.