Debbie Wasserman Schultz Berned at DNC 2016 Opening
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was booed by diehard supporters of the senator at a Florida delegation breakfast on Monday morning. She announced on Sunday that she would resign after the convention following a WikiLeaks release of a trove of hacked DNC emails showing her staff musing about how to knife Sanders in the primary, including painting him as a crypto-atheist.
”We will lock arms and we will not stand down!” she yelled over a roar of jeers.
Wasserman Schultz spoke for a few minutes before exiting the stage, leaving a throng of delegates and supporters standing in a huddled mass among cameras.
Sanders supporters in the Marriott ballroom weren’t just content to see Wasserman Schultz go, some still want to see Clinton lose. This is despite Sanders’s conceding the nomination to Clinton and endorsing her ahead of tonight’s speech, where he is expected to do so again. The senator from Vermont, who speaks tonight in primetime at the convention, has emphasized that Clinton is the nominee and has said in the past that the actual electoral process was not “rigged.”
Sanjay Patel, a Florida delegate wearing a jacket with “Feel the Bern” written in tiny light bulbs, said the email leak shows Clinton’s nomination is tainted.
“If the process itself was rigged and not democratic—unfair—I think he has an opening, absolutely,” Patel said of Sanders’s chances to snatch the nomination away from Clinton.
“If there’s an opening, we’re absolutely going to take that opening,” Patel said.
Rubbing salt in Sanders supporters’ wound, Clinton’s campaign gave her the title of “honorary chair” just hours after Wasserman Schultz said she would step down.
Allan A.J. Nichols, a Sanders delegate from Florida holding signs reading “Bernie for President” and “Emails,” said it’s not over for Sanders quite yet.
“I don’t think we’re ready for that,” Nicholas said. “We’re so close and he’s fought so hard for so long. And he’s such a warrior.”
Wasserman Schultz was not without her own supporters though.
Bina Fink, wearing a shirt with Wasserman Schultz’s name written in red across the back, said she came to the Marriott to support the congresswoman she loves.
“I’m in her district and she’s amazing,” Fink told The Daily Beast. She said the upheaval over the DNC emails was a shame and that Wasserman Schultz deserves respect for the work she has done throughout her life.
“I know that she has nothing to do with it,” Fink said, citing the time she tried to discuss Sanders and Clinton with the former DNC chair at a private event and Wasserman Schultz wouldn’t budge.
“Whichever one the people will pick, or the delegates or anybody would decide, the Democratic Party would be so ready because both are so good and so qualified,” Fink said Wasserman Schultz told her. “She never said anything about Hillary; she never said anything about Bernie. She said that she was proud of both candidates.”
Both sides seemed to agree that they won’t stay home if it’s Clinton vs. Donald Trump in November.
“I don’t like to use fear tactics but certainly the alternative of Trump is unfathomable. It’s just—it’s a mistake,” Nichols said. “We’re so far behind right now as a country, as a middle class. We cannot keep doing this.”
As the Sanders supporters poured out of the room at the conclusion of the breakfast, there was a sense that the fight wasn’t done.
Patel, with a smile stretching across his face, pointed to his jacket and said he had more batteries on him.