Debbie Wasserman Schultz gives up the gavel ahead of DNC

Email controversy casts shadow over DNC kick-off
Email controversy casts shadow over DNC kick-off

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the embattled soon to be former chair of the Democratic National Committee, will no longer gavel open the Democratic National Convention when it kicks off in Philadelphia this afternoon.

"I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention," Wasserman Schultz told the Sun Sentinel.

She also told the south Florida newspaper she had asked Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who serves as secretary of the Democratic National Committee, to take her place and open the convention.

The start of the Democrats' gathering in Philadelphia has gone anything but smoothly for Wasserman Schultz.

On Sunday, Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation effective at the end of the convention as chair of the Democratic National Committee, following a leak of emails that showed apparent DNC favoritism toward Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Monday morning, she made a plea for unity at a breakfast for delegates from her home state of Florida, and was met with a raucous mix of boos and cheers.

"We have to make sure that we move forward together in a unified way," Wasserman Schultz told the rowdy crowd that was asked to settle down numerous times. "We know that the voices in this room that are standing up and being disruptive, we know that that's not the Florida that we know, the Florida that we know is united."

Wasserman Schultz acknowledged the extra attention she received, and said she had spoken with President Barack Obama and Clinton on Sunday and agreed to serve as a Clinton surrogate on the campaign trail.