An officer at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is calling for a staff shake-up in the wake of an email controversy that exploded over the weekend and threatens to derail the party’s national convention as it gets underway Monday in Philadelphia.
Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a vice chairman at the DNC, told The Hill on Sunday that those involved in scheming to undermine Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Biden: We will fix nation's problems Left doubles down on aggressive strategy MORE’s presidential campaign should either resign immediately or be fired.
“The DNC needs to make a clear statement that this was wrong and that any member of the staff involved in criticizing another candidate, especially using DNC offices and equipment, should be fired,” Rybak said. “If any officer played a role in helping another candidate when we’re supposed to be neutral, they should resign. It’s that simple. Make a clear statement. Clean up this mess so we can move on and work together.”
A cache of emails released Friday by WikiLeaks revealed at least two instances of DNC officials openly discussing ways to undermine the Vermont senator's campaign.
Sanders and his top aides hit the Sunday talk show circuit to reiterate their demands that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resign. She announced Sunday, a few hours after the on-air onslaught, that she will step down at the end of the convention.
Rybak on Sunday stopped short of calling on Wasserman Schultz to resign — but he came close. The Sanders camp has long claimed that Wasserman Schultz was in the tank for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Bill Clinton hospitalized with sepsis We have a presidential leadership crisis — and it's only going to get worse MORE’s campaign and working to undermine Sanders.
“I’ve been clear that I think she has not been effectively unifying the party, and this makes it harder,” Rybak said. “She should examine her actions and ask whether she’s been fair and if she hasn’t been, or if she becomes an issue, she should get out of the way so that we’re talking about Hillary Clinton and not Debbie Wasserman Schultz.”
According to multiple reports, the chairwoman will see a greatly diminished role at the coming convention. Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeNew HUD rule aimed at preventing evictions from public housing Briahna Joy Gray: 'Strong likelihood' Turner will run for the House in 2022 Biden administration launches new national initiative to fight homelessness MORE of Ohio will instead preside in Philadelphia.
One email revealed by WikiLeaks showed DNC press secretary Mark Paustenbach writing to communications director Luis Miranda about planting a narrative to the media that Sanders’s “campaign was a mess.”
Another email, from DNC CFO Brad Marshall, outlines a plan to question Sanders’s religion ahead of primaries where he had a lead over Clinton.
In regard to the religion email, Rybak said: “I find it disgusting, and there should be a significant consequence and it should be immediate.”
Rybak has been critical of Wasserman Schultz for months. In October, he and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe perfect Democratic running mate for DeSantis? Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition MORE, a vice chairwoman at the DNC until she resigned to endorse Sanders, called for an expansion of the primary debate schedule. The two even authored a joint Facebook post calling the debate schedule a “mistake.”
In December, Rybak warned that party leaders must not alienate Sanders supporters.
“Whether people are going to vote for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, we’re going to need the collective grass roots of all of those efforts,” he said at the time. “It’s imperative that the DNC communicate the importance of that and deliver on that.”
Updated 5:08 p.m.