Friday evening on MSNBC's MTP Daily Democratic National Committee vice chair R.J. Rybak, the former mayor of Minneapolis, defended his leadership colleague Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), also a vice chair at the DNC, from attacks launched on her by the party chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).
Rybak told host Chuck Todd he believes Wasserman Schultz is putting the presidential election at risk. Rybak is only the latest person in DNC leadership that has distanced themselves from Wasserman Schultz. The aforementioned Gabbard was "uninvited" from attending the first Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas this week after she publicly called for more debates, something the chairwoman is opposed to. There are to be 6 party-sanctioned debates scheduled for the primary season.
Rybak told MSNBC he has "serious questions" and doesn't believe Wasserman Schultz is "in position to be [the] peacemaker who builds that big tent for all of us."
"I have serious questions," Rybak said of Wasserman Schultz's leadership. "And it's not just about the debates. The fact of the matter is some time in a month or two before the convention, somebody is going to win or lose. It's going to be essential for the leader of the party to be able to say to everyone, look, it's been fair, we need to now, let's all pull together. That's what Democrats want. I think the only thing that's going to mess that up, frankly, is that I don't think the Chair, right now, is in the position to be that peacemaker who builds that big tent for all of us."
Rybak said he is going public after Wasserman Schultz told a "knowing untruth" about Gabbard.
"The only reason I went public on this was after the Chair went on television and repeated a knowing untruth about Tulsi Gabbard, who, one of our fellow co-chairs, who, as a Congresswoman from Hawaii, is a great leader of the party," Rybak revealed. "And I'm not going to stand by and watch that."
"We shouldn't," he stated.
On the day of the first debate, Wasserman Schultz told NBC's Andrea Mitchell that Gabbard was not punished for her differing view on the number of debates and did not come because she "chose not to."
However -- in an interview conducted by Mitchell not long after she quizzed Wasserman -- Gabbard said on MSNBC that Wasserman Schultz was "saying things that aren't true" and told her to stop calling for more debates.
Even later that afternoon, not long before the Democratic debate, Wasserman Schultz was asked to respond. Wasserman Schultz protested the focus should be on the "Republican circus" and not the infighting going on within the leadership in the DNC.
"Congresswoman Gabbard was asked to keep our focus on the candidates," Wasserman Schultz finally told network anchor Steve Kornacki. "We're a big tent party and have a variety of opinions."