Sanders aide: Easier for Dems to unify if Wasserman Schultz steps down
© Greg Nash

Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden aspires to become America's auto-pen president Progressive Mondaire Jones wins NY primary to replace Nita Lowey OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden pledges carbon-free power by 2035 in T environment plan | Trump administration has been underestimating costs of carbon pollution, government watchdog finds | Trump to move forward with rollback of bedrock environmental law MORE campaign manager Jeff Weaver said Thursday that it would be easier for Democrats to unify if Debbie Wasserman Schultz is no longer the party chairwoman.

“I think unity in the party would be much easier to achieve if we had a consensus chair who was committed to playing the traditional role that the chairs of parties play,” Weaver said in comments to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

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“The kind of conduct we saw from the chairwoman’s office over the course of this campaign really is a sticking point for a lot of people out there who support Sen. Sanders,” Weaver said. “The millions of people out there who support Sen. Sanders, they’ve seen the finger on the scale and they’re unhappy about it.”

The Hill reported this week that there have been discussions on Capitol Hill about whether Wasserman Schultz should step down as chairwoman.

The fear is that anger toward Wasserman Schultz from Sanders supporters will make it more difficult to bring them into the fold around likely Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrat Dana Balter to face Rep. John Katko in NY House rematch GOP lawmaker: Don't believe polls showing Trump behind Biden Kyle Van De Water wins New York GOP primary to challenge Rep. Antonio Delgado MORE.

Weaver said the Sanders campaign has not been in contact with Clinton’s campaign about potentially removing Wasserman Schultz, but he argued that Democrats need a “consensus chair” to unify the party.

“Even when there’s sharp elbows in a primary contest, the chair of the party is looking out for the broader interests of the party to make sure the party can come together in the end,” Weaver continued. “We’ve seen repeatedly from chairwoman Wasserman Schultz that’s not the role she’s played.”

Earlier in the day, Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillTrump mocked for low attendance at rally Missouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties Senate faces protracted floor fight over judges amid pandemic safety concerns MORE (D-Mo.), a prominent Clinton supporter, was asked to defend Wasserman Schultz but left her hanging.

“No one is calling on Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down, but she has a decision to make going forward because what we all have to focus on now is how we unite and defeat Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff MORE” McCaskill said.

“Fair or unfair, she’s to many Bernie supporters someone who gets them riled up,” McCaskill continued. “Now we can argue about why that is or if it’s fair if that’s the case, but this ultimately will be up to Debbie. I don’t think anyone is trying to figure out how to move Debbie out, but we have to figure out how to all get along.”

Weaver said McCaskill’s weak defense of Wasserman Schultz was evidence of a broader sense that she’s failed in her capacity as chairwoman.

“I think we’ve seen over time that the chairwoman has become an increasingly divisive figure within the party,” Weaver said. “Sen. McCaskill, who you know is quite a vocal proponent of Secretary Clinton’s campaign, she has been sort of on the offense at times against Sen. Sanders, even people like Sen. McCaskill understand that if the party is going to come together.”

Weaver praised Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus for his handling of the GOP primary.

“If you look on the Republican side, the party chair there has been working day and night to try and bring everyone in together and unify the party,” he said. “I think we need a similar effort on the Democratic side.”

A string of other Democrats, however, have moved to defend Wasserman Schultz. They include the leadership of the Democratic Party in the House.