Wasserman Schultz Won't Say Whether Trump Is a 'Legitimate' President

January 17, 2017

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) dodged questions from CNN's Erin Burnett on Tuesday night pertaining to whether Donald Trump is a "legitimate" president.

"What I believe is that there's no question that the outcome of this election was affected by the Russian interference with the campaign and because our intelligence community has unequivocally stated that Russia's intent was to influence the outcome of the election in favor of Donald Trump," Wasserman Schultz said.

The Florida Democrat then referenced the Senate's future investigation into whether Russia was involved in helping get Trump elected, which prompted Burnett to ask her a second time whether Trump is a legitimate president.

"I'm not going to weigh in on the application of the term 'legitimate' or not. I've run for office many times, and I certainly would never want to have the credibility or confidence shaken in the outcome of any of my elections and so I think it's a cause of great concern," Wasserman Schultz said.

"With 52 of your colleagues not coming, with some Americans deeply, deeply upset, the hashtag not my president on Twitter, I have to say I do think whether you use the word legitimate is very important," Burnett said sternly.

The CNN host then asked Wasserman Schultz for a third time whether she believes that Trump is a legitimate president.

"I'll be able to reach a conclusion on [legitimacy] when we hear more about these investigations," Wasserman Schultz said. "When you use a term like legitimate–and that will be one I'm prepared to use if more evidence comes out that not only did the Russians [have a] significant impact on the outcome of this election, but the Trump campaign colluded with them to achieve his victory, then most certainly I would be able to use that term."

Following Wasserman Schultz' interview, Burnett discussed her responses regarding Trump's legitimacy with a CNN panel.

"I don't know if you feel how I feel, but I think the hesitancy of saying he's legitimate or not legitimate in the environment we're in is hugely significant ... It isn't a word you can say, 'I'll decide later on,'" Burnett said.

CNN reporter Nia-Malika Henderson agreed with Burnett and said that Wasserman Schultz "pointedly refused" to answer Burnett's question.

"She pointedly refused to answer your question, and when you asked it point blank, there's this whole dancing around, it depends on what the definition of legitimate really is," Henderson said.

Henderson went on to say that the Democratic Party is in "disarray" because of Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton and they are trying to figure out who they are.