A day after the announcement of her ouster as chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz addressed the Florida delegation at a raucous meeting in Philadelphia on Monday morning, vowing to be a visible presence on the campaign trail as a surrogate for Hillary Clinton.
“I can see there is a little bit of interest in my being here,” Wasserman Schultz told the crowd of delegates and media at a breakfast hours before the start of the Democratic National Convention.
The Florida congresswoman, who came under fire over leaked emails that suggested the national Democratic Party favored Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the primaries, was jeered by supporters of the Vermont senator at the meeting, many of whom were armed with signs that read: “E-Mails.”
Wasserman Schultz did not address the email scandal directly, saying only she was “proud to serve” as the chair of the committee since 2011, when she was appointed by President Obama to succeed Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
The outgoing chair said she spoke with both Clinton and Obama on Sunday amid calls from Sanders and others for her resignation. She is still up for reelection in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.
“I thanked President Obama for the honor of serving,” Wasserman Schultz said, “and for being able to watch his back and bring him across the finish line in 2012.”
Clinton, she said, thanked her for her service and offered her the role as surrogate, which she accepted.
“You will see me every day between now and Nov. 8 on the campaign trail,” Wasserman Schultz said to more boos.
The chaotic scene was reminiscent of Ted Cruz’s contentious meeting with Texas delegates the morning after his speech at last week’s Republican convention in Cleveland. Cruz was booed during his speech, in which he refused to endorse his own party’s nominee.
Wasserman Schultz, who was scheduled to appear onstage at the opening of the convention Monday afternoon, was escorted by security as she left the breakfast. Hours later, she told the Orlando Sun Sentinel she would no longer appear.
“I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention,” Wasserman Schultz said. “I stepped down the other day because I wanted to make sure that having brought us to this momentous day and to Philadelphia and planned the convention that is going to be the best one that we’ve ever had in our party’s history that this needs to be all about making sure that everyone knows that Hillary Clinton would make the best president.”
Sanders will address the convention on Monday night.
Late Monday afternoon, the Democratic National Committee offered a formal “deep and sincere apology” to Sanders, his supporters and the Democratic party for “the inexcusable remarks made over email.”
According to the Associated Press, the statement, issued by interim party chair Donna Brazile, said those remarks “do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process.”
The statement, which was signed by Brazile and six other DNC officials, wasn’t signed by Schultz.
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