Debbie Wasserman Schultz may be stepping down as Democratic National Committee chair after this week's party convention, but that doesn't mean she'll be far away: Hillary Clinton announced Sunday she'll be an "honorary" part of her campaign.
"There's simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie," Clinton said in a statement, thanking her "longtime friend" for her committee leadership, reports NPR
Clinton also announced in her statement that Schultz will now become an honorary chair of her campaign's "50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country. In addition, Clinton will help with Schultz's re-election campaign in Florida, her statement said.
Schultz co-chaired Clinton's 2008 election for the White House against then-Sen. Barack Obama, NPR notes.
Schultz said in a lengthy statement Sunday afternoon
that she plans to open and close the party's convention this week, and then step down from her spot as party head after the convention ends and Clinton has been nominated.
The Florida congresswoman was in meetings on the eve of the party's convention with party operatives, who had pressed her to either step down, or to at least to issue a statement addressing leaked emails that appear to show the party was fighting in favor of Clinton's nomination over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Now, DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile will serve through the election, committee spokesperson Luis Miranda tweeted
Obama also lauded Wasserman Schultz for her service Sunday afternoon, commenting that he is "grateful" for her service and that she "had my back" in his 2012 re-election campaign, reports CNN
"For the last eight years, Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had my back," Obama said in a statement. "This afternoon, I called her to let her know that I am grateful."
Obama also noted that the outgoing committee chairman had played an important role in his healthcare reform efforts, and in supporting the national economic recovery.
Sanders said Schultz deserved "thanks" for her service while saying the Democratic Party needs new leadership.
"Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made the right decision for the future of the Democratic Party," Sanders said in his statement, reports CNN. "While she deserves thanks for her years of service, the party now needs new leadership that will open the doors of the party and welcome in working people and young people. The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race."
Earlier in the day, Sanders had called for Schultz to resign
over the email leaks, which included her calling Sanders’ campaign manager a “damn liar” and with questions being raised over Sanders’ religious beliefs.
GOP nominee Donald Trump, who has been seeking to lure Sanders' voters to his side after the Vermont senator's decision to drop out of the race, tweeted his applause for Schultz's decision to drop out, while praising Republican National Commitee Chairman Reince Priebus:
He also tweeted that Schultz is "overrated":
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