Explaining her handling of the 2016 Democratic primaries, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, “If I was trying to rig the outcome of the primary, trust me, I could have.”
In an interview with HBO's "Vice News Tonight" program on Nov. 18, Wasserman Schultz discussed her much-criticized management of the Democratic primaries, which led to her stepping down as DNC chair prior to the party’s convention in Philadelphia this summer.
“There are so many things that we, not I, we could have done to enhance the campaign of one candidate over another,” she said.
During the primaries, supporters of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) complained that his campaign was undermined because Wasserman Schultz scheduled too few debates and aired them at times that would attract a smaller audience, presumably to help the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
Wasserman Schultz, who is also a representative of Florida’s 23rd congressional district, has been a longtime ally of Clinton. Sanders eventually called for Wasserman Schultz to step down as DNC chair.
Criticism of Wasserman Schultz and the DNC reached a breaking point on the eve of the Democratic convention this summer, when the WikiLeaks web site released thousands of DNC emails. The correspondence revealed that, though the DNC was supposed to be a neutral player in the primaries, some of its operatives appeared to disparage Sanders and favor Clinton. Following Wasserman Schultz’s resignation, she was appointed an honorary chair of the Clinton campaign’s “50 State Program.”
Wasserman Schultz’s comments in the interview are below.
“I will be frank with you,” she said. “If I was trying to rig the outcome of the primary, trust me, I could have -- there are so many things that we, not I, we could have done to enhance the campaign of one candidate over another...
“It was mind-boggling to me that he was complaining about the number of debates. Because, things were going just fine [for him]. I think the Sanders campaign began to aggressively find a scapegoat to turn the attention away from mistakes that they made.“
Wasserman Schultz became DNC chair in 2011. She was a co-chair of Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and has represented Florida's 23rd congressional district since 2005.