Ben Jealous, the former CEO and president of the NAACP, said Monday that the Democratic National Committee’s email leaks showed why its chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, should resign.
“We can never again be allowed to have a Democratic Party whose top officials do such damage to their base,” Jealous told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric. “That’s why it’s so important that we have a new chairman, that we’re moving forward and the party acted quickly.”
Based on messages included in a massive leaked email trove that some have linked to the Russian government, DNC officials were revealed last weekend to have been privately undermining Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign while publicly maintaining their impartiality. Sanders’ supporters had long argued that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton, and for some of them, the leaked emails offered evidence of this.
Jealous argued Monday that the Russians couldn’t be blamed for the content of the emails.
“What I know for sure is that the Russians didn’t write the emails. That is the most important thing, what was in the emails,” he said. “I’m a venture capitalist involved in the tech industry — double-bottom-line companies. Cybersecurity is real, and we need to be concerned about cyber warfare. … There’d be nothing for them to hack if these emails didn’t exist, and they were created by DNC officials, who now need to be on their way.”
Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday that she would resign her leadership of the Democratic National Committee in the aftermath of the scandal. Jealous applauded the move.
“We are making this party more democratic, which is exactly what we need to do right now,” he told Couric. “We changed the chairman, which is exactly what we need to do right now to unify this party. We have 105 days to keep a madman out of the White House. It’s time to come together, and that’s what we’re doing here.”
Jealous, a Sanders supporter and delegate, also called for party unity.
“I’m still a Bernie Sanders supporter. I’m still a member of our revolution. However, Bernie has endorsed Hillary, and I’m joining him in doing that,” Jealous said.
Jealous further praised the party’s platform for its shift toward Sanders’ agenda.
“[This platform] is the most progressive in the history of this party. It has absolutely been shaped by the Sanders campaign,” Jealous said.
“Just like we saw Jesse Jackson in ’84 and ’88 transform this party going forward, Bernie Sanders is transforming this party,” he said. He added: “Maybe for this week, this is Bernie’s night, but this is the beginning of what we’re going to see in this country.”