Allies of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE think Debbie Wasserman Schultz should remove herself completely from the Democratic National Convention, fearing that even the minor role she is set to play has become too much of a distraction.
Wasserman Schultz resigned as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Sunday, amid an outcry over leaked emails that showed the DNC scheming against Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWTO faces renewed scrutiny amid omicron threat Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan MORE's (I-Vt.) presidential campaign. In her resignation announcement, Wasserman Schultz said she would stay on as chairwoman through this week’s convention in Philadelphia, delivering opening and closing remarks.
But even such a limited role is too much at this point, Clinton allies say.
One ally pointed to the response Wasserman Schultz received at her home-state Florida delegation Monday morning, where she strained to be heard over a chorus of protests and boos. As she spoke, people stood on chairs holding up signs that said "emails," "No!" and "Thanks for the 'help,' Debbie." Others repeatedly shouted: “Shame.”
"It's causing the distraction no one wanted at the convention," one ally said.
Wasserman Schultz was defiant at the breakfast, telling the delegates they will be seeing more of her.
"You will see me every day between now and Nov. 8 on the campaign trail, and we will lock arms and we will not stand down," she said.
Still, it’s clear her speaking role at the convention is becoming a massive headache for the Clinton campaign, which fears having its convention message overshadowed by protests from Sanders supporters.
Ed Rendell, a top surrogate for Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on Monday said he wouldn’t let Wasserman Schultz speak at the event.
“Well, let me preface it by saying I really like Debbie, but I wouldn’t,” he said Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe." "I wouldn’t, No. 1, for her own good, because it’s going to get messy when she gets up there.
“She worked very hard, but she’s stubborn and she wants to see this thing through. I just think it’s wrong for her and it’s wrong for us.”
Another ally and supporter of Wasserman Schultz called the whole controversy "unfortunate" and a form of "bullying.” But, the ally added, “She's going to do what she needs to do.
“Debbie knows she's a distraction and knows this is terrible. While she doesn't want to evaporate, I think she's going to step away. If this is a little picture of what later today could be like, she's going to do what's right, and that's the Debbie I know."
"At this point the whole thing is just embarrassing," said one Democratic operative familiar with the internal dialogue. "The general consensus is that she needs to remove herself from the process. She needs to do it. The sooner the better — by 3. p.m. is what many people want to see.
"For someone who is a smart and savvy member of Congress, how does she not get it?" the operative said.
The operative said it's been a rough 36 hours for the Clinton campaign, with the controversy over the emails overshadowing Clinton’s rollout of Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineLiberty University professor charged with alleged sexual battery and abduction of student Senate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill Menendez jabs State official over Colombian group's terror designation MORE (D-Va.) as her presidential running mate.
"I think people do have a high level of respect for [Wasserman Schultz] and one of the reasons people have stood with her. It hurts people to see what she's doing to herself."
Going forward, the operative predicted that Wasserman Schultz would keep her title as honorary chair of the Clinton campaign's "50-state program" — a title that wouldn't exactly put her back in the spotlight — and that she would serve as a surrogate for the campaign, particularly in must-win southern Florida.
"I think she'll probably be spending a lot of time running for reelection," the operative said. "Given everything she's dealing with now, the last thing she wants is to lose her House seat."
Wasserman Schultz is facing a primary challenge from Tim Canova, a professor who has raised $1.7 million for the race in the last quarter, with much of the money coming from Sanders supporters.
In a statement on Monday, Canova said Wasserman Schultz has “ignored the interests of her constituents and abandoned the progressive values of the Democratic Party.”