Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and frequent Hillary Clinton apologist, is under hot water for her handling of the 2016 Democratic primary.
Bernie Sanders has repeatedly accused Wasserman Schultz of being biased in favor of Mrs. Clinton and has even suggested she is not fit to lead the Democratic Party.
Well, now several top Democrats are slowly dropping their support for Schultz.
The knives are out for Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Capitol Hill. But it’s unclear whether it amounts to griping or a more serious warning sign that the embattled Democratic Party chairwoman’s post is in jeopardy.
Powerful Democratic senators did not come to Wasserman Schultz’s defense on Wednesday after discussions of a coup attempt, first reported by The Hill on Tuesday evening, began gripping the Capitol.
Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, expected to ascend to the Democratic leader role next year, declined to comment and said he won’t be “mixing it up” on the contentious issue. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the highest ranking woman in the Senate, said she’s “focused” on her own job when asked about the Democratic National Committee chairwoman. And Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sidestepped the matter.
“That’s not up to me,” he said when asked if Wasserman Schultz should stay on.
Senate Democrats say privately that the polarizing DNC head and Florida congresswoman is just about the worst person to preside over the Democratic convention this summer and heal the party after her caustic remarks lately about Bernie Sanders. But talk of a coup attempt is all anonymous at this point.
“I think it’s real,” argued one Democratic senator, envisioning Wasserman Schultz being shouted down on national TV while presiding over the convention. “I think it’s in her best interest and Hillary Clinton’s best interest” to leave the job.
“No one thinks she’s doing a good job but she won’t step down and getting rid of her is a big task that at the end of the day always seems like more trouble than it’s worth,” a senior Democratic aide added. “The feeling among those who want a change is that having her preside over the convention makes it much, much harder to resolve the rift between now and then, or potentially after.”
Still, it is notable that several prominent Democrats are remaining neutral rather than backing Wasserman Schultz.
“From my perspective, I just think the real harmony doesn’t come with Debbie Wasserman Schultz. It happens between Bernie and Hillary,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the head of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm. “It’s a DNC thing, I just really don’t pay much attention to what she does, to be honest with you.”
Wasserman Schultz recently accused Sanders supporters of violence and intimidation at a Nevada state party convention, and defended Democratic Party rules that Sanders’s campaign says have a pro-Clinton slant. Sanders said he won’t keep her on if he becomes president, then endorsed her House primary opponent and helped him raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.
With Sanders already smarting that the Democratic Primary has been tilted against him, the tension is coming to a head.
Reid has been trying to act as an arbiter between Sanders and those frustrated that he continues to run against and attack Clinton. On Wednesday morning, Reid met with Jane Sanders, the candidate’s wife, privately in his office; in an interview afterward, she declined to elaborate on the conversation.
“We talked about other things,” said Jane Sanders, who was in town to attend a luncheon for Senate spouses. “I haven’t seen anybody for so long, it was just nice to be back just for a few hours.”
When asked about the firestorm surrounding Wasserman Schultz, Jane Sanders responded: “I think [Bernie Sanders] said anything that we need to say.”
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