Donna Brazile Says The Democratic Primary Wasn't "Rigged" After All

by Samantha Mendoza
Larry French/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Earlier this week, former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile dropped a bombshell by claiming that the Hillary Clinton campaign took control of the DNC during the Democratic primaries in an effort to help her win the election. (In response, Clinton's former campaign manager, Robby Mook, told Anderson Cooper, "The idea that the DNC could rig a contest frankly is laughable.") Walking back her comments on Sunday, however, Brazile said she found "no evidence" the Democratic primaries were rigged. And she had some pretty strong words for her critics: Go to hell.

"For those who are telling me to shut up ... you know what I tell them? Go to hell," Brazilie said on ABC News. "[The election] was worse than Hurricane Katrina in terms of the emotional toll. They don't know what it was like to be over at the DNC."

Brazile went on to say that she found "no evidence, none whatsoever" of election rigging during her time at the DNC. Her comments come just days after an excerpt from her upcoming book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House, was published by Politico, leading to increased speculation that the DNC may have conspired against Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in favor of Clinton.

During the news segment, Brazile also addressed another shocking revelation she included in her book excerpt: that as chair of the DNC, she had briefly considered replacing Clinton on the Democratic ticket after she passed out at a 9/11 memorial ceremony in September 2016, citing health concerns. On Sunday, Brazile elaborated on these claims, saying that she made this contingency plan because she was "under tremendous pressure" as interim chair.

“I didn’t want to have a plan B. Plan A was great for me," Brazile said. "I supported Hillary and I wanted her to win, but we were under pressure.”

Some of Brazile's latest comments seem to be at odds with the claims made public in her book excerpt. In the excerpt, she wrote that she had "proof" of "unethical" behavior with in the DNC that allowed Clinton to take "control of the party long before she became its nominee."

"I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process. ... I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie," Brazile wrote.

She went on to say, in a much publicized claim, "I had found my proof and it broke my heart." Again, Clinton's former campaign manager has denied the claims.

Given Brazile's drastic change of tone, some critics are questioning what her motivations may have been for publishing her original comments only to seemingly walk them back days later. Many people on Twitter are accusing Brazile of releasing the excerpts not to get to the bottom of exactly what happened during the 2016 presidential elections, but to supposedly make money.

One Twitter user wrote that Brazile "went nuclear" just to sell copies of her books with her shocking claims. Additionally, some former Clinton campaign staffers published an open letter on Medium stating that they were "shocked" by Brazile's comments and that they "do not recognize" the party that she describes in her book.

Despite the criticism, and much of the pushback that Brazile received when her excerpts were first published, she is standing by her comments, and has made it clear that she doesn't plan on staying quiet anytime soon. "I'm going to tell my story," Brazile told ABC.