Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden faces Ukraine decision amid Russia aggression The Hill's Morning Report - US warns Kremlin, weighs more troops to Europe MORE is giving his support to Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's primary opponent amid tensions with her and the DNC.
Sanders also said that if elected president, he would effectively terminate her chairmanship of the DNC.
Wasserman Schultz will be facing Tim Canova in the Democratic primary for Florida's 23rd Congressional District.
“Well, clearly, I favor her opponent,” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview to air Sunday on "State of the Union." "His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz."
However, Wasserman Schultz remains popular in her district, which overwhelmingly voted for Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPoll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second The politics of 'mind control' No Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way MORE in the state’s March presidential primary.
In a statement Saturday, Wasserman Schultz said she will remain neutral in the presidential election and looks forward "to working together with him for Democratic victories in the fall."
President Obama also endorsed her in March, and Vice President Biden will headline a fundraiser for her next month.
Sanders's comments come as tensions between him and party leaders escalate. Last weekend saw a chaotic state convention in Nevada in which Sanders supporters angrily opposed rules they thought unfairly benefited Clinton.
Wasserman Schultz and other Democratic party leaders called on Sanders to condemn the actions of his supporters, but he defiantly accused the state party and leadership of favoring Clinton instead.
“Party leaders in Nevada ... claim that the Sanders campaign has a ‘penchant for violence.’ That is nonsense. Our campaign has held giant rallies all across this country, including in high-crime areas, and there have been zero reports of violence," Sanders said, adding that Democrat leadership used its power "to prevent a fair and transparent" convention.
“If the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned,” the Vermont senator added.
Wasserman Schultz did not take well to Sanders's response, saying it “falls short” of making sure Sanders supporters don’t exhibit that behavior in the future, most likely thinking of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.
“With all due respect, when there is a ‘but’ in between a condemnation of violence generally and after the word ‘but’ you go on to seemingly justify the reason that the violence and intimidation has occurred, then that falls short of making sure that, going forward, that this kind of conduct doesn’t occur,” she said on CNN Wednesday.
The two also seemed to spar over committee seats at the convention, with Sanders demanding more representation.
He has also criticized other aspects of the Democrats’ nominating process, from closed primaries to the use of superdelegates, the vast majority of whom are backing Clinton and have given her a substantial lead in the race.
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver further distanced the campaign from the DNC chair Wednesday, saying she has been “throwing shade” at Sanders “since the very beginning.”
“Whether it was the debate schedule that were very few and far between and scheduled on weekends when no one was going to be watching them, whether they shut off Sanders’s access to his own data and we had to sue them in federal court to get them back, whether it was these joint fundraising agreements with the Hillary Clinton campaign which are taking money from the state parties and giving it to the DNC,” Weaver told CNN.