PHILADELPHIA — Just as the party convention began, the Democratic National Committee on Monday formally apologized to Sen. Bernard Sanders for its conduct during the presidential primary — but the figure at the heart of the scandal, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, wasn’t a part of the mea culpa.
The “sincere apology,” offered by incoming interim DNC Chair Donna Brazile and other party leaders, comes after leaked emails showed the party actively working against Mr. Sanders and in favor of Hillary Clinton.
“On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email,” the DNC said in its statement. “These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not — and will not — tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates. Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again.”
Ms. Schultz who was forced to step down Sunday as a result of the leaked emails, was not part of the apology and her name appeared nowhere in the email sent out by the DNC Monday afternoon.
The batch of emails showed DNC officials mocking Mr. Sanders’ campaign and plotting ways to derail his candidacy, including by pushing news stories it believed would hurt him in key states — including by questioning his faith.
The apology is meant to calm the party convention, which already has gotten off to a rocky start. In addition to Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s abrupt departure, Sanders’ supporters on Monday disrupted the convention’s opening invocation at the very mention of Mrs. Clinton’s name, chanting “Bernie!” so loudly the prayer could not be heard.
The DNC hopes its apology to Mr. Sanders will help bring about party unity.
“We are embarking on a convention today that — thanks to the great efforts of Secretary Clinton, her team, Sen. Sanders, his team, and the entire Democratic Party — will show a forward-thinking and optimistic vision for America, as compared to the dark and pessimistic vision that the GOP presented last week in Cleveland,” the DNC statement reads. “Our focus is on electing Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine and Democrats across the country, thanks to Democratic Party that is strong, unified, and poised for victory in November.”