Pelosi defends Dem Party chief criticized by Sanders

Alan Fram
Associated Press

Washington — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday defended the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, who’s been under attack from Bernie Sanders for undermining his long-shot bid to become the party’s presidential nominee.

Asked by reporters about Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Pelosi, D-Calif., seemed to choose her words carefully.

“Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz has the respect of her colleagues for her efforts and her leadership to unify the party and to win the election in November,” she said. Asked if she agreed with those sentiments, Pelosi said, “That was my statement.”

The long-shot bid by Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination against front-runner Hillary Clinton has left rifts within the party. Sanders is an independent senator from Vermont.

Sanders has accused Wasserman Schultz of favoring Clinton by scheduling debates on weekend nights, for having many closed primaries not open to independent voters and for its superdelegate system that helped Clinton pad her lead.

Wasserman Schultz is also a congresswoman from Florida.

Asked about reports that some Democrats felt retaining Wasserman Schultz was making it difficult for the party to unify, Pelosi said she was unaware of that.

“I’m not going to get involved in conversations about personality,” Pelosi said. “I told you that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has the respect of her colleagues in the House for her hard work to unify and to win the elections.”

Pelosi said the party’s next chairman will be selected by the Democratic National Committee and the party’s presidential nominee. She said she believes disquiet among Democrats largely stems from unhappiness with the party’s delegate selection process.