Brazile stirs Democratic strife; party chief seeks unity
WASHINGTON (AP) — The former head of the Democratic National Committee says she considered initiating efforts to replace Hillary Clinton as the party’s presidential nominee with then-Vice President Joe Biden. Donna Brazile makes the revelation in a memoir being released Tuesday that has renewed deep divisions within the Democratic Party.
The Washington Post obtained an advance copy of “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.”
Brazile writes that she considered initiating Clinton’s removal after she collapsed while leaving a 9/11 memorial service in New York City. Clinton later acknowledged she was suffering from pneumonia.
But Brazile says the larger issue was that her campaign was “anemic” and had taken on “the odor of failure.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez tried to calm the rival factions Saturday with a statement on new procedures intended to make the next primary more fair.
Brazile writes that after considering a dozen combinations to replace Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine from Virginia, she settled on Biden and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey as those with the best chance of defeating Trump.
Ultimately, the former DNC head says: “I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.”
It was unclear whether Biden was willing to step into the race or even whether he discussed the idea with Brazile. A spokesman for the former vice president didn’t respond to a request for comment Saturday.
Brazile writes that on Sept. 12, 2016, the day after Clinton collapsed, Biden’s chief of staff called saying the vice president wanted to speak with her and that her thought at the time was “Gee, I wonder what he wanted to talk to me about?” The Post report gave no further details and it was unclear whether the book elaborates on this.
As for Brazile’s powers to determine the party’s candidate, she writes that as party chair she would oversee the process of replacing a nominee who became disabled.
In an excerpt published earlier by Politico, Brazile says she believed a joint fundraising agreement signed between Clinton and the DNC “looked unethical” and that she felt Clinton had too much influence on the party during a competitive Democratic primary with rival Bernie Sanders.
During the nomination process for the 2016 election Democrats argued among themselves over whether Clinton was being given an unfair advantage over Sanders, a Vermont independent who sought the party’s nomination with the backing of its more liberal members.
On Saturday, Perez issued a statement saying he and the DNC leadership were committed to ensuring that the nomination process in 2020 will be “unquestionably fair and transparent.”
Among the reforms he said he developed after listening to Democrats across the party spectrum was ensuring that “no candidate participating in our presidential nominating process gains any unfair advantage — real or perceived — during our primary season.” He also said the debate schedule would be decided in advance rather than negotiated after all candidates had entered the race.
Perez also pledged to ensure that all joint fundraising agreements would be transparent, including the new Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund agreements developed with the 50 state parties.