Debbie Wasserman Schultz Announces Resignation With Convention Set To Begin
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Let's talk more about the leak of these DNC emails and how they're affecting the convention. We're on the line with NPR's senior political correspondent, Ron Elving. He's in Philadelphia as well, joining us from member station WHYY. And, Ron, we just heard from Sam what Bernie Sanders supporters are saying, but what are party officials doing about this issue?
RON ELVING, BYLINE: Party officials are essentially ushering Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the stage. She may still gavel in the first session of the Monday meeting, about 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and she wants to briefly address the delegates and talk a little bit about her tenure in office and the importance of this election, but that's going to be that. And then she also has said she wants to come back and wrap the gavel on Thursday night, probably sometime around 11 or 12 o'clock.
And apart from that, we're just not going to see her on the stage because she has become the lightning rod for the controversy over not only the emails that WikiLeaks has released, but just the sense that Bernie Sanders and his supporters have had throughout this contest that their candidate was being done dirty, essentially, by the DNC, that he was not getting the same kind of support from the Democratic National Committee.
MARTIN: Now, the decision by Debbie Wasserman Schultz to leave the chair or to be ushered off the chair, as you just put it, does this decision for her to step down - does it clear the air or does it create more confusion, in your view? I know this is very new news, but what do you think?
ELVING: It doesn't create that much confusion because we have already been told that Donna Brazile, who's a very well-known person in the Democratic Party, is going to take over as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee through the end of the election. She served as the interim chairman of the party prior to Wasserman Schultz's tenure, and she did that back in 2011 for a number of months. And she is going to be a steadying hand and influence. And presumably this will have some effect, too, on her appearing on CNN and other places where we see her on television. She's a familiar figure. Also, for the purposes of the convention itself there will be a convention chair, and that is Congresswoman Marcia Fudge from Cleveland, ironically, since we've just left Cleveland and come now to Philadelphia. But Congresswoman Fudge will be the woman who actually handles the gavel during these official proceedings.
MARTIN: Ron, we only have about 45 seconds left. But Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been the chair of the DNC for five and a half years, the first woman chair. How has her performance been viewed over this time?
ELVING: Her performance has, generally speaking, been controversial. She has been seen as being very good at certain things, at some of the administrative details of what the committee has to do. And she has also been seen as someone who had an agenda of her own, perhaps not that of everyone in the Democratic Party, and particularly in the last several months because it's all been about Hillary versus Sanders.
MARTIN: That's NPR's Ron Elving joining us from member station WHYY in Philadelphia. Thank you, Ron.
ELVING: Thank you, Michel.
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