Debbie Wasserman Schultz is out of power, influence and backing. There is no place for her in House leadership or statewide office with Hillary gone and her carrying the baggage of a failed chairmanship along with sketchy stories about the infamous IT aide, POLITICO reports.
Wasserman Schultz won’t adequately explain why she kept her IT staffer Imran Awan on six months after she was told about the investigation into him and his family, all employed by House Demorat congressional leaders. The FBI has been looking into a possible equipment and data scam since February.
She finally fired the grossly overpaid tech on July 25, one day after authorities arrested him on a seemingly unrelated mortgage fraud charge.
Two dozen other House Democrats fired the Awans and a friend when they found out about the investigation.
Wasserman Schultz defended herself for the first time last week, claiming she was a victim of “right wing media” and Awan was a victim of Islamophobia.
Her fellow Dems don’t understand her puzzling statements and political missteps any more than Republicans do. They want her to “go away”.
“We wish she would go away and stop being so public by doubling down on negative stories,” said Nikki Barnes, a progressive DNC member from Florida, who believes Wasserman Schultz left the national party “in shambles” while chair, culminating with the hack of DNC servers and the release of embarrassing internal emails by WikiLeaks in the 2016 campaign. As for Wasserman Schultz’s defense, Barnes said “none of this makes sense. It doesn’t sound like racial profiling … there must have been something for her.”
The problem with the Awan case, Barnes said, is that it’s not just hurting the congresswoman. It’s drawing negative attention to a party trying to recover from the losses and for the Bernie-DNC battle. DNC now means a lot of things, all negative, because of her reign.
“This adds to Debbie being rebranded as the Democrats’ disastrous destruction,” Barnes said. “Those of us on the DNC know we have to rebrand ourselves and earn the people’s trust. And unfortunately Debbie’s name does not scream trust. It screams power. It screams limited access. It screams WikiLeaks now. DNC lawsuit. It screams a lot of negative things to the public. That’s not how we want to rebrand ourselves.”
Barnes said she couldn’t understand why Wasserman Schultz made herself a target of attention by becoming the lone Democrat to employ Awan and then publicly threatening the U.S. Capitol Police chief with “consequences” in a dispute over an office laptop under examination from investigators.
“Debbie Wasserman Schultz is still a national figure, but unfortunately for her it’s because so many people around the country see her as playing a devastatingly bad role in the last election,” said R.T. Rybak, the former mayor of Minneapolis and former DNC vice -chair who clashed with Wasserman Schultz. “I can mention her name in Minneapolis and it gets a viscerally negative reaction, and I’ve found that to be the case in other parts of the country, too. Sadly, I think she deserves the negative reputation.”
Former staffers and top Democrats in Washington and Florida say Wasserman Schultz has become such a polarizing figure in her own party that some longtime Democratic allies, when contacted by POLITICO, struggled to say kind words about her or explain how and why she got into this latest jam.
She has used her sharp tongue against allies and got into an inexplicable and explosive fight with top Democratic donor and trial lawyer John Morgan after she trashed his popular medical-marijuana initiative, seemingly without cause.
“In politics, you’re as strong as your friends. And she doesn’t have as many as she used to. And that’s her fault,” Morgan said. Who added that the power went to her head and the more she was criticized, the more paranoid she became.
Wasserman Schultz was engaged in a behind-the-scenes cold war with White House advisers and Obama allies who said her personal ambition conflicted with her role as chair. Obama wanted her to quit and give her spot to new blood.
She even had to fight off a primary challenger, Tim Canova, who is backed by Bernie Sanders. He was her first challenger since her first election and he plans to return in 2018.
To Democrats like the DNC’s Barnes, she’s a distraction the party can ill afford.
“Everything that’s going on right now is taking away from what success we’re seeing in the grass-roots movement. No one’s talking about the people’s platform or hearing our good news because the headlines are focused on Debbie, her misplaced laptop and consequences,” Barnes said, referring to her threats of consequences to the Capitol Hill police chief.
She was booed off the stage at the DNC convention last year. The MSNBC ticker below reads she received cheers. There were some but it was misleading. Wasserman had to leave the stage.