Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the outgoing chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), said Thursday that "sometimes you just have to take one for the team."
"This has been a difficult week, there's no question about it," Wasserman Schultz said in remarks at a reception hosted by the National Jewish Democratic Council, the first time she's spoken publicly since announcing she would step down as chairwoman.
"It has been a remarkable team effort, and you know sometimes you just have to take one for the team, and that's OK, it's OK," she said with a smile.
The DNC chief, who is also running for reelection to Congress in Florida, announced Sunday afternoon she would be stepping down at the end of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.
Emails stolen in a hack of the DNC system that were leaked last weekend suggested top Democratic officials sought to undermine Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Overnight Defense & National Security — Lawmakers clinch deal on defense bill White House 'strongly opposes' Senate resolution to stop Saudi arms sale MORE's campaign.
Uproar among Sanders supporters threatened to overshadow this week's party convention in Philadelphia, which has included a series of speeches from Democratic heavy hitters including Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley — Presented by Connected Commerce Council — Incident reporting language left out of package Exporting gas means higher monthly energy bills for American families Senators turn up the heat on Amazon, data brokers during hearing MORE (Mass.), Vice President Biden, President Obama and first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson Obama'Car guy' Biden puts his spin on the presidency Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Son gives emotional tribute to Colin Powell at service MORE.
Wasserman Schultz essentially removed herself from the convention proceedings, first dropping a planned speech and ultimately deciding not to open the convention, either, in addition to resigning after the event.
A Clinton campaign spokesperson had said Wasserman Schultz made the decision to step down to help facilitate a distraction-free convention.
The DNC email breach also interjected debate over foreign policy into the presidential race between Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBen Affleck: Republicans 'want to dodge the consequences for their actions' through gerrymandering Republican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema MORE and Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE, with Democrats attributing the stolen emails to Russia and going after Trump's past commenting speaking warmly of Russia's leader.
Trump on Wednesday said he hoped Russia found Clinton's deleted personal emails from her time as secretary of State, which was widely interpreted as sanctioning Russian cyberattacks on a U.S. citizen.
Clinton's campaign criticized it as "a bridge too far," and Trump on Thursday said he was being "sarcastic."
"I can personally attest to how not funny it is," Wasserman Schultz told attendees Thursday. "We were hacked by Russian espionage organizations, and for a presidential candidate to encourage that to happen again, I mean, it's treasonous, it's seditious, it's unacceptable."