Metro-East News

Sanders backers waver at Clinton endorsement; Illinois delegates say DNC head needed to resign

A supporter for former Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, holds up a sign during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday.
A supporter for former Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, holds up a sign during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Monday. AP

Temperatures soared to the mid-90s in Philadelphia on Monday, and emotions were running just as high among those attending the first day of the Democratic National Convention.

The big point of contention was the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz from her position as chair of the Democratic National Committee, amid a series of damning leaked emails that show bias toward Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

Schultz began the day by addressing an emotional Florida delegation. As she rose to the stage, she was greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos. Schultz focused on her successes within the Democratic Party and her hopes for working with the Clinton campaign in the near future.

“I thanked President Obama for the honor of serving as the chair of the Democratic National Committee,” she said. Schultz also confirmed that she would not be gaveling in the convention Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge took over and introduced the delegates to the Democratic National Convention on Monday evening.

Shortly after Schultz’s presentation to the Florida delegation, DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile addressed the black and Hispanic caucuses to try to assuage emotions and apologize for the leaked emails.

“I sincerely apologize, my friends, for those of you who took offense and were offended, feel betrayed and were betrayed, by the ridiculous, insensitive, and inappropriate emails from the staff of the Democratic Party,” Brazile said. “Those words do not reflect the spirit of this party.”

Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, shared those sentiments. He said in a press conference Monday morning that he hopes this week that the DNC will stand in “stark contrast” to the GOP convention, which was held in Cleveland last week.

Later in the day, more than 1,900 Sanders delegates were invited to attend an impromptu rally at the Pennsylvania Convention Center to hear Sanders speak. The delegates erupted into thunderous applause and chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” as the Vermont senator took the stage.

Sanders urged his delegates to go back to their hometowns and run for office to ensure that his political policy can spread throughout the country, beginning at the local level.

“What we want to achieve is nothing less than a transformation of American society,” Sanders said.

Sanders mentioned the resignation of Schultz, and his delegates cheered even louder. The Sanders delegates appeared to be discerning of the email leaks and the less-than-civil correspondence from the DNC. As evidenced by their cheers, the delegates were supportive of Schultz’s decision to resign.

Sanders continued the rally by fervently stating, “we have to defeat Donald Trump!”

The delegates roared with agreement, until Sanders told them that they must vote for Hillary Clinton in order for her to win. Immediately, the tide turned to thunderous boos.

Illinois delegates agree with Schultz’s decision to resign from the leadership post after the convention.

The Florida congresswoman is stepping down as chairwoman following hacked emails suggesting the DNC favored Clinton in the presidential primaries against Sanders.

Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang is a Clinton delegate. He says the emails are dramatic, but they’ll be a “small glitch” in the end. He calls resigning a “wise decision.”

Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa is a Sanders delegate. He says the resignation was “the correct step,” though it should have occurred earlier.

Both delegates believe the party can be unified.

Lang says it’s important for Sanders to reiterate Clinton support. Ramirez-Rosa says he’ll vote for Clinton, but she needs to reinforce opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Delegates will soon have to decide whether to embrace Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton. Roll call is at the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday evening.

Editor’s note: Taylor Schwartz is a journalism student at Temple University. The Journalism Department at Temple is partnering with McClatchy newspapers, including the News-Democrat, to provide locally-tailored coverage of the Democratic National Convention. The Associated Press contributed to this report.