Wasserman Schultz to Step Down as Democratic National Committee Chair

She will step down at the end of the convention.

ByABC News
July 24, 2016, 4:34 PM

— -- On the eve of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced she would resign as Democratic National Committee chair at the end of the convention.

In a statement laying out the goals of this election cycle she wrote: "The best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention. As Party Chair, this week I will open and close the Convention and I will address our delegates about the stakes involved in this election not only for Democrats, but for all Americans."

Her announcement comes amid the release of internal DNC emails by Wikileaks that appear to show the inner workings of the Democratic Party and what seems to be party officials attempting to aid the Hillary Clinton campaign during the primaries.

Several of the emails released indicated that the officials, including Wasserman Schultz, grew increasingly agitated with Clinton's rival, Bernie Sanders, and his campaign as the primary season advanced, in one instance even floating bringing up Sanders' religion to try and minimize his support.

During the primary battle, Sanders and his supporters accused both the party and Wasserman Schultz of putting their thumb on the scale for Clinton and these emails may indicate support for those allegations. Sanders called for Wasserman Schultz to step down.

But as recently as Saturday, Wasserman Schultz campaigned with Clinton in Florida, speaking at Clinton's Miami event with her new running mate Sen. Tim Kaine, himself a former DNC chair.

In a statement on Sunday, Clinton called Wasserman Schultz a "longtime friend."

"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 said. "There's simply no one better at taking the fight to the Republicans than Debbie."

She said Wasserman Schultz has agreed to serve as honorary chair of her campaign's "50-state program to gain ground and elect Democrats in every part of the country, and will continue to serve as a surrogate for my campaign nationally, in Florida, and in other key states."

President Obama also released a statement praising the departing chairwoman.

"For the last eight years, Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has had my back. This afternoon, I called her to let her know that I am grateful. Her leadership of the DNC has meant that we had someone who brought Democrats together not just for my re-election campaign, but for accomplishing the shared goals we have had for our country," he said.

Obama added: "We know she will continue to serve our country as a member of Congress from Florida and she will always be our dear friend."

Republican nominee Donald Trump responded with a tweet: "Today proves what I have always known, that @Reince Priebus is the tough one and the smart one, not Debbie Wasserman Shultz"

Democratic National Committee communications director Luis Miranda tweeted that Donna Brazile will service as interim chair "through the election."

Brazile is an ABC News contributor.

ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe, Alana Abramson and Josh Haskell contributed reporting.

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