The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday, without former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, after Schultz was booed by Bernie Sanders supporters following fallout from DNC emails which appeared to show the committee favored Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over Sanders during the primary.
“I have decided that, in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note, I am not going to gavel in the convention,” Wasserman Schultz said in an interview with Florida’s Sun Sentinel.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the DNC’s secretary, gaveled in this year’s convention instead.
“Delegates, alternatives, standing committee members, and all of our honored Democrats, and other guests here in Philadelphia, and all of you who have joined us by television, radio and online here in the United States, and around the world, I hereby call the 47th quadrennial Democratic National Convention to order,” Rawlings-Blake stated.
Wasserman Schultz said Sunday she would be stepping down as chairwoman of the DNC, following the party’s convention, which runs from July 25 to July 28.
In addition, amidst the controversy, Republicans have questioned whether this year’s convention would unify the Democratic Party.
“The extreme left will not be satisfied by one person’s resignation,” the Republican party national chairman stated.
However, Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama have both thanked Wasserman Schultz for her work with the committee leading up to the convention.
“I am grateful to Debbie for getting the Democratic Party to this year’s historic convention in Philadelphia, and I know that this week’s events will be a success thanks to her hard work and leadership,” Clinton stated.
“For the last eight years, Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had my back,” President Obama added. “This afternoon, I called her to let her know that I am grateful.”
The DNC Rules Committee has reportedly named Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, as permanent chair of the convention, and DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile will serve as interim chair throughout the election.