The head of the Democratic National Committee, Broward Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is sticking by a Jewish-outreach aide who was embarrassed last week by an old Facebook posting where she joked about “Jewbags.”
The aide, Danielle “Dani” Gilbert (who is Jewish like Wasserman Schultz) quickly apologized for the six-year-old anti-Semitic slur. But by then, the Facebook posting had gone viral.
Also, Democratic sources started leaking stories that her hiring at the DNC exposed a rift with President Obama’s campaign.
Wasserman Schultz on Monday said Gilbert should be forgiven. She said it also showed the perils of social media in today’s campaign world.
“She was 20 when she posted that picture,” Wasserman Schultz said. “I spoke to my own children and gave that unfortunate posting as an example of how, no matter what you think is funny among your friends, nothing on social media is private.”
Wasserman Schultz also disputed anonymous sources who told the website BuzzFeed that Gilbert’s hiring for Jewish outreach at the DNC was made over the objections of top officials at the Obama campaign and the DNC, which already has a Jewish-outreach coordinator.
The sources fretted to BuzzFeed that Wasserman Schultz was putting her own personal politics and relationships ahead of the interests of the party when she hired Gilbert, the daughter of major Democratic donor Mark Gilbert of Boca Raton.
“I don’t know what they’re talking about,” Wasserman Schultz said, criticizing “those famous anonymous sources that never have the nerve to actually say what they’re saying – make accusations on the record.”
Republicans delighted in the whole affair as they’ve repeatedly questioned the domestic and foreign policies of the Democratic Party when it comes to Jewish voters.
The conservative Washington Free Beacon unearthed the Facebook posting, in which Gilbert and her friends jokingly played into some of the worst of stereotypes, using words like “Jewbags” and the “Jew cash-money team.”
Wasserman Schultz said her aide is highly qualified.
“I’ve known Dani Gilbert since she was 15 years old,” Wasserman Schultz said. “She’s a Yale graduate, a graduate of the London School of Economics, she has been my foreign policy aide for almost three years. And she’s incredibly poised, intelligent and that is not reflective of her maturity today.”
Wasserman Schultz said the brouhaha hasn’t hurt her relationship with the Obama campaign. She said she speaks “a few times a week” to Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and the DNC is besting its rival, the Republican National Committee, when it comes to fundraising.
“I have a great relationship with the campaign. The DNC and the campaign work inextricably together,” she said.
“We’re working with the campaign to build the most significant dynamic grassroots presidential campaign in history,” she said. “Things seem to be going really well.”