Embattled Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has announced that she will resign from her post once the Democratic National Convention has concluded, the party said in a statement today.
Wasserman Schultz, who also serves in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been under fire for some time from party leaders and activists unhappy with her management of the party.
Bernie Sanders has been calling for her resignation for weeks, and many of his supporters have been calling for her ouster for even longer than that.
It is worth noting that Wasserman Schultz was not chosen as DNC Chair in a competitive election by the members of the Democratic National Committee.
Rather, she was picked by President Obama’s advisors, who mistakenly thought she’d make a good successor to Tim Kaine when he stepped down to run for United States Senate in Virginia. Kaine is now Clinton’s running mate.
(The Democratic Party has a nonsensical tradition of allowing the White House to select the party chair when the presidency is held by a Democrat — a practice that I, in my capacity as a Democratic activist, am determined to abolish.)
From the beginning, Wasserman Schultz was an ineffective chair who could not get things done well, or at all. Her tenure has been marked by a series of electoral losses, fiascos, and setbacks for the party.
Under Wasserman Schultz, Democrats suffered massive losses in the 2014 midterms, missed out on earned media due to a poorly thought-out presidential debate schedule, had data stolen in a breach of the DNC’s computer systems, and needlessly engaged in multiple public feuds with the Sanders campaign (including over VoteBuilder access last December).
The party’s media outreach under Wasserman Schultz was also incredibly weak.
Many Democratic Party leaders believe Wasserman Schultz should have resigned or been forced out months ago, particularly when it became apparent she had lost the confidence and trust of her own vice chairs.
But inexplicably, she has remained in charge. Until now.
This weekend, Wasserman Schultz called President Obama, reportedly to offer her resignation. But it is not his to accept.
Wasserman Schultz is supposed to be the leader of a party that lives up to his name. The party grassroots has already been demanding Wasserman Schultz’s resignation for a long time. I don’t know a single Democratic activist who approves of her job performance. It is appropriate that she is finally listening.
POSTSCRIPT: Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden have all predictably issued statements thanking Wasserman Schultz for her service.
I want to thank my longtime friend Debbie 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.
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.
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. 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. Her critical role in supporting our economic recovery, our fights for social and civil justice and providing health care for all Americans will be a hallmark of her tenure as Party Chair.
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. 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.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had the President’s and my back over the last eight years—and we’re incredibly grateful.
She’s been part of our efforts to build an economy from the middle-out, to deliver quality, affordable health care to millions of Americans, and to protect equal rights for everyone.
Governing is serious business. The country deserves — and needs — serious leaders like Debbie.
A fighter for women’s health and rights. A fierce advocate for seniors and working families. A Congresswoman who knows her first job is serving her constituents—and her first obligation is always to her beautiful family—Steve, Jake, Rebecca, and Shelby. Debbie is an incredible public servant, and she will always be my friend.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz has 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. The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race.
Tim Canova, Wasserman Schultz’s Democratic primary challenger in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, who is seeking to replace Schultz in Congress, said:
Debbie Wasserman Schultz has resigned from the DNC and now it’s time for her to step up and debate me or drop out of our House race. Her interests lie not with her constituents, but rather in the interests of corrupt special interests groups and herself.
It’s time for a change in South Florida.
Wasserman Schultz will perform her final duties as Chair this week at the Convention, and then Donna Brazile will become the interim Chair.