Give credit – or incredible chutzpah – to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who kept her word and addressed a raucous scene at the Florida delegation breakfast at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Philadelphia Monday morning.
It did not go well.
Seemingly half of the crowd of several hundred people, which included the delegates and other Democrats, stood up and booed her mercilessly, some holding up signs reading, “E-Mails,” referring to the trove of Democratic National Committee emails that were published by Wikileaks on Friday that appeared seemed to show a plot by DNC officials to damage Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary. That led to her resignation as DNC chair on Sunday, though she said she will not do so until after the convention.
There were several of Wasserman Schultz constituents wearing T-shirts advocating for her re-election in attendance.
There were DWS supporters as well, but they were drowned out by the fervent opposition.
Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant tried to quiet down the crowd, to little avail. “Let’s hear from our speaker today.”
As members of the crowd and reporters rushed the stage, Mary Lou Ambrose, president of the Largo/Mid-Pinellas Democratic Club said to this reporter, “I want you to know that everybody in Pinellas County disagrees with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and wants her out.”
Wasserman Schultz began her remarks by referencing the latest shooting in Florida, last night in Fort Myers, where two people were killed and 14 others injured.
Meanwhile, individual skirmishes between Bernie Sanders supporters and others broke out. “She’s worked against America!” one pro-Bernie speaker shouted.
“This is not democracy!” another voice emerged. “We don’t like rigged elections!” came another voice.
Boos continued to reign down on her, drowning out her voice in the front part of room.
There were DWS supporters in the room.
“Debbie has been a wonderful Congresswoman, when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer she reached out to me, her office was as helpful as can be,” said Elaine Geller from Hollywood. “When I lost my daughter she reached out to me and that’s what constituency work is, she knows her constituents. She’s in every event, she knows everybody’s name, she’s friendly with everyone, and really isn’t that what you want in a congressperson?”
“I like everything from Debbie, honest, loyal person, she cares so much about her constituents,” said said Bina Fink, from Weston, Florida.
Fink said she’s spoken with Wasserman Schultz in the past, and questioned her about the questions regarding her neutrality in the presidential race.
“I’ve been at private events where I’ve asked her, we’ve asked about Hillary vs Bernie, and I can tell you that my congresswoman told everyone that the both of them are a great pick, both of them are amazing. So I don’t know where this came from, but to all of, she never, never, said vote for one over another.”
Sarasota resident Kelly Kirschner, a Sanders supporter, said he doesn’t believe it’s just Bernie fans who think that our politics is not being played fairly these days. “I think there’s consternation all across the country with what many people have felt on both sides of the spectrum that there’s hands on the scale and this is not necessarily the democracy we thought it was that we learned in grade school.”
Left undecided as the delegation breakfast ended was whether Wasserman Schultz would convene the convention on Monday morning at the Wells Fargo Center. Based on what happened this morning at the Marriott, it would probably not be a good move for Democrats trying to sell to the country that their united trying to defeat Donald Trump this November.
Wasserman Schultz left the stage after speaking for a little more than five minutes.