Bernie Sanders said on Sunday that the leak of Democratic National Committee emails that show its staffers plotting against him proves Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz should resign.
Shortly after the interview aired, CNN reported that Wasserman Schultz will no longer serve as chair of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, which begins Monday. According to CNN, she’ll be replaced at the convention by Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sanders said the email leak proved once and for all that Wasserman Schultz was unfit to lead the committee.
“I don’t think she is qualified to be the chair of the DNC,” the Vermont senator said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “Not only for these awful emails — which revealed the prejudice of the DNC — but also because we need a party that reaches out to working people and young people, and I don’t think her leadership style is doing that.”
“I think she should resign, period,” Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” Sunday.
“I think I told you a long time ago that the DNC was not running a fair operation. That they were supporting Secretary Clinton,” he continued. “So what I suggested to be true six months ago turns out, in fact, to be true. I’m not shocked. But I am disappointed. And that is the way it is.”
Included among the emails released by Wikileaks was a message from DNC CFO Brad Marshall in which he suggested raising the issue of Sanders’ religion to dissuade support for him in states like Kentucky and West Virginia.
“It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WV can we get someone to ask his belief,” Marshall wrote in an email on May 5. “Does he believe in God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. 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.”
Sanders, who is Jewish, addressed Marshall’s rumormongering Sunday.
“I am not an atheist,” he said. “But aside from all of that, it is an outrage and sad that you would have people in important positions in the DNC trying to undermine my campaign. It goes without saying, the function of the DNC is to represent all of the candidates, to be fair and even-minded.”
The release of the DNC emails comes on the eve of the convention in Philadelphia, where Hillary Clinton will formally accept the Democratic nomination on Thursday.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said the leak of the emails was part of a coordinated hack by the Russians to help Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“What’s disturbing to us is that experts are telling us Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails,” Mook said on CNN. “And other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.”
Mook added: “I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention.”
Sanders, who endorsed Clinton earlier this month, said the DNC emails will not stop him from supporting the former secretary of state in her campaign against Trump.
“The focus … that I am going to go forward on right now, is to make sure that Donald Trump — perhaps the worst Republican candidate in the history of this country, somebody that by temperament, somebody that by ideology, must not be president of the United States — I am going to do everything I can to defeat him,” Sanders said, “to elect Hillary Clinton, and to keep focusing, keep focusing, on the real issues facing the American people.”
The Vermont senator is scheduled to deliver a primetime address at the Democratic National Convention on opening night Monday. And Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs offered a preview of his speech in an email to reporters.
“Bernie Sanders will make it clear that Hillary Clinton is by far superior to Donald Trump on every major issue from economics and health care to education and the environment,” Briggs wrote. “Sanders will stress that the most progressive platform in Democratic Party history includes agreements he reached with Clinton to dramatically expand health care access and to make public colleges tuition-free for students from families with annual incomes up to $125,000 a year.”
According to Briggs, Sanders “also plans to rip into Trump for siding with the Koch brothers and echoing fossil fuel industry claims that climate change is a hoax despite the virtually unanimous scientific consensus that the warming planet is causing devastating harm.”
The self-described Democratic socialist will also call on his supporters to continue the “revolution” his campaign started.
“Together,” Sanders is planning to say in his speech, “we continue the fight to create a government which represents all of us, and not just the 1 percent — a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”