Donna Brazile, 56, is the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, replacing Debbie Wasserman Schultz until the November election. Brazile has been working in politics since she was a teenager, volunteering for President Jimmy Carter‘s two campaigns. In 2000, she was Al Gore‘s campaign manager, making her the first African American woman to lead a major party candidate’s campaign. She is scheduled to speak at the DNC. This is the second time she has been in this position, since she replaced Tim Kaine when he decided to run for U.S. Senate before Wasserman Schultz came in.
Here’s a look at Brazile, her thoughts on the current issues facing the Democratic party and her role at the Democratic National Convention.
1. Brazile Says She’s Apologized to Bernie Sanders for the Leaked Emails Controversy
Brazile told ABC News’ Good Morning America that she has already apologized to Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton‘s rival for the nomination, for the leaked emails scandal. She insisted that Clinton won the primaries “fair and square.”
“We need to come together. [Hillary Clinton’s] campaign and her message this week is that we’re stronger together, we can solve our problems, we can begin to project a better country with a better future for everybody and tonight we begin that conversation,” Brazile told GMA.
Brazile did sound agitated with the Sanders campaign in one email from May. When a Washington Post reporter asked her to comment on the Sanders campaign complaints over “adequate representation on the platform committee,” Brazile refused to comment.
“I have no intentions of touching this. Why? Because I will cuss out the Sanders camp,” Brazile wrote.
That’s in contrast to what she wrote on Twitter.
2. Brazile Will Still be a Commentator for CNN During the Convention
While Brazile will not be a commentator for ABC News during the convention, she still will be heard on CNN. In an email to Politico, CNN said:
With news of Donna Brazile stepping in as interim chair for the Democratic National Committee, CNN and Brazile have mutually agreed to temporarily suspend her contract as a contributor for the network effective immediately. As a valued voice and commentator, CNN will revisit the contract once Brazile concludes her role.
However, Deadline reports that Brazile will stay on CNN without being paid.
3. She Apologized for the Emails, Calling Them ‘Insensitive & Inappropriate’
On Monday morning, during a black caucus meeting in Philadelphia, Brazile apologized for the contents of the emails, saying that they don’t reflect the “spirit of the party.”
“With a humble heart, I want to say something as your vice chair,” Brazile said, reports The Huffington Post. “I sincerely apologize, my friends, for those of you who took offense and were offended, for those of you who feel betrayed and were betrayed by the ridiculous and insensitive and inappropriate emails released from the Democratic Party.” She also explained that she apologized while on CNN.
Despite the contents of the emails, Brazile told Good Morning America that she believed Wasserman Schultz deserved to gavel in the convention. However, Wasserman Schultz already said that she will not do so.
4. She Wrote an Op-Ed Praising Sanders’ Decision to Run
In May 2015, Brazile wrote a CNN op-ed praising Sanders’ decision to run, suggesting that Democrats should be happy because it would force Clinton to be more specific.
“By pushing back against the party he is so often aligned with, Sanders will force Democratic candidates such as former secretary of state and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton to more clearly define exactly what their stances are on specific issues,” Brazile wrote. “And while that’s the last thing any politician truly wants to do, it’s something every voter should want.”
Even at that early stage of the game, Brazile noted that Sanders’ chances of winning are “long, to say the least.”
Clinton did beat Sanders with 15.8 million votes to 12 million.
5. Brazile Is a Superdelegate & Attempted to be Neutral Publicly
Although Brazile is a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter, she refused to pick Clinton or Sanders publicly during the primaries. She is a superdelegate, so she will make a decision at the convention.
On February 3, Brazile highlighted the best of both candidates CNN. She said:
I met Hillary Clinton when I was a young lady working as an intern and I can tell you she’s been a progressive fighter all her life. And Bernie Sanders, I got to know him during campaigns on Capitol Hill, campaigns across this country. These are two wonderful, fighting souls. And I would take Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over any of the Republicans.
As The Washington Post notes, while on CNN in April, she was asked who won the New York debate. “The Democratic Party,” was her response.