PHILADELPHIA — Hillary Clinton and her team aren’t thrilled that the head of the Democratic National Committee was forced out on the eve of the nominee’s coronation – but they aren’t exactly distraught to see Debbie Wasserman Schultz booted from the tent.
Several senior Democratic officials with ties to Hillary and Bill Clinton told POLITICO that campaign higher-ups have been trying to replace the oft-off-message Florida congresswoman from the start of Clinton’s campaign late last year.
John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman – and a former top adviser to Barack Obama – broached the idea of replacing Wasserman Schultz as early as last fall, only to be rebuffed by the president’s team, according to two people with direct knowledge of the conversation.
The move had to happen on Sunday, said a senior Democrat: Sanders-supporting delegates — without the buy-in of his campaign — had been organizing an effort over the last day to have state delegations vote to demand her resignation at the Monday morning caucus breakfasts. Given how many delegations are made up of a majority of Sanders supporters, the movement was likely to have spread, overtaking any other news on the convention’s opening day.
Clinton campaign officials declined numerous attempts by phone, email and text to respond to this story.
But the Clinton campaign was very much involved in the DNC chair’s defenestration. Earlier in the day Sunday, Sanders had again suggested that Wasserman Schultz should resign — and DNC officials announced she would be replaced as convention chair by Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, an influential member of the Congressional Black Caucus. By sundown – after intense negotiations with senior Clinton campaign officials — the committee tapped longtime Clinton aide, TV surrogate and party vice-chair Donna Brazile as interim chairwoman.