US Democrats scrambled to contain damaging revelations of an insider effort to hobble Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, with the party boss abruptly announcing her resignation on the eve of the convention to officially nominate Hillary Clinton.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she would step down at the end of the convention, a move that aimed to put an end to the scandal threatening an uneasy truce within the fractured party.
Thousands of Democratic delegates were converging on Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love,” to elevate Clinton as the party’s nominee who will battle Republican Donald Trump in the November election.
After a hard-fought primary campaign, the party had been heading to the Democratic National Convention seeming far more unified than the Republicans, whose fissures were laid bare last week as they confirmed brash billionaire Trump as their flagbearer.
Now the Democrats are struggling with the fallout from a scandal that threatened to mushroom into a major crisis just as the party was supposed to coalesce around its nominee.
A cache of leaked emails from Democratic Party leaders’ accounts includes at least two messages suggesting an insider effort to wound the upstart Sanders campaign that had competed with Clinton — including by seeking to present him as an atheist in deeply religious states.
Bowing to rapidly building pressure, Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee’s embattled chair, announced Sunday she was stepping down at the end of the convention.
In a statement, Wasserman Schultz described Clinton as “a friend I have always believed in and know will be a great president.”
Her announcement came after Sanders on Sunday repeated calls for her to go, with her leadership already under fire and impartiality called into question by the leaks.