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Chaos on Convention Floor: Protests, Boos and Chants of “Bernie” Mark Opening of DNC

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The tumultuous opening of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia began one day after Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned following the release of nearly 20,000 emails revealing how the Democratic Party favored Hillary Clinton and worked behind the scenes to discredit and defeat Bernie Sanders. On Monday morning, protesters booed and heckled Wasserman Schultz at a Florida delegation breakfast. Hours later, Senator Bernie Sanders spoke about the DNC email scandal in a meeting with his delegates. Later in the meeting with his delegates, the room erupted into boos when the Vermont senator repeated his support for Hillary Clinton. Supporters of Sanders chanted “Run! Run! Run!” and “Bernie or Bust!” The tension continued on to the floor of the DNC hours later. Democracy Now! was on the floor at the opening gavel of the convention and spoke with several delegates.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: It has been a tumultuous 24 hours here at the opening of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The convention proceedings officially began one day after Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned following the release of nearly 20,000 emails revealing how the Democratic Party favored Hillary Clinton and worked behind the scenes to discredit and defeat Bernie Sanders. On Monday morning, protesters booed and heckled Wasserman Schultz at a Florida delegation breakfast.

FLORIDA DELEGATE: Debbie Wasserman Schultz!

PROTESTERS: Boo!

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you so much!

AMY GOODMAN: Hours later, Senator Bernie Sanders spoke about the DNC email scandal in a meeting with his delegates.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: As I think all of you know, Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned yesterday as chair of the DNC. Her resignation opens up the possibility of new leadership at the top of the Democratic Party that will stand with working people.

AMY GOODMAN: Later in the meeting, with his close to 2,000 delegates, the room erupted into boos when the Vermont senator repeated his support for Hillary Clinton.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: We have got to defeat Donald Trump. And we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.

SANDERS SUPPORTERS: Boo!

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Brothers and sisters—

AMY GOODMAN: Supporters of Sanders chanted “Run! Run! Run!” and “Bernie or Bust!” The tension continued on to the floor of the Democratic National Convention when it was gaveled open hours later. Democracy Now! was there at the opening gavel of the convention.

MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I hereby call the 47th quadrennial Democratic National Convention to order.

AMY GOODMAN: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the Baltimore mayor, not Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC, now resigned, has gaveled the Democratic National Convention into order on this first day.

DONNA EDWARDS: I’m Donna Edwards. I actually live in Baltimore City. I was so proud to see Stephanie Rawlings-Blake give the gavel down for this exciting convention. I think it just shows that we’re moving forward. We’re moving forward with unity and strength, just like we do in Baltimore.

AMY GOODMAN: Could you talk about the controversy around Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the emails that came out, 20,000 of them, and how it suggested that the DNC was clearly on the side of Hillary Clinton? No matter who you support, they clearly supported her.

DONNA EDWARDS: I would say that what’s interesting is that in that debate or in that discussion, no one is talking about the fact that Bernie never identified himself as a Democrat until he decided to run for president. So, that’s all I have to say on it. It’s over. Let’s move forward.

SANDERS SUPPORTERS: Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!

AMY GOODMAN: Marcia Fudge, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, is trying to speak. People are booing. People are chanting “Hillary!” There’s chaos in the California delegation.

MARK MALOUF: My name is Mark Malouf. I am a delegate for Bernie Sanders in Congressional District 5 from California, Sonoma, Napa County, Vallejo. And the reason why we were booing Tim Kaine is because we’d much prefer a much more progressive candidate that’s able to unify the party against Donald Trump and stop the rise of fascism.

AMY GOODMAN: It sounds like your delegation is very divided. People were chanting “Hillary!” and other people were saying no, other people were saying “Bernie!” And many people are holding up “Ban TPP” signs.

MARK MALOUF: Although it is very divided, I am not one of the so-called Bernie or Bust, so I will planning—I am planning on voting for the eventual Democratic nominee. However, I do not know if that is the case for many of the people in this audience.

PROTESTERS: No TPP! No TPP! No TPP! No TPP!

ALYSSA DERONNE: I’m Alyssa DeRonne from Asheville, North Carolina. The time is now to stop the TPP. We cannot have the TPP come up in a lame-duck session of Congress.

CLINTON SUPPORTER: You’re having a hissy fit because you lost. And you don’t—you disrespect a man who fought for your civil rights and fought for the civil—

ALYSSA DERONNE: I’m here to fight for the people, because I live in a democracy.

CLINTON SUPPORTER: Oh, you don’t know the people. You just became involved, and you lost. We would work with you, but you’re not respecting our people, and you’re not respecting others, and you want to have the floor the whole time, and that is just wrong. People would be with you, but you are disrespectful, and you are being bratty and acting out. And that’s not what America is about.

ALYSSA DERONNE: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear her. I’m trying to stay positive, and I live in a democracy. And I know that unfair trade deals ruin our country. They put millions and millions of people out of jobs. They trash our environment. They’re going to invade our internet security. And we don’t even know the entire thing, because it’s shrouded in secrecy.

KATY ROEMER: My name’s Katy Roemer. I’m a registered nurse, and I’m a member of National Nurses United. And I’m a nurse from California, from Congressional District 13 as a delegate. And I think this is what democracy looks like. I’m incredibly proud to be here. We have, you know, been with Senator Sanders. We were the first union to endorse him. And, you know, I’m glad that finally in American politics we’re actually airing the fact that there is not necessarily agreement on issues.

CLINTON SUPPORTER: Hillary! Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!

AMY GOODMAN: And your thoughts on Tim Kaine?

KATY ROEMER: Tim Kaine—look, Tim Kaine has a few good things about him, but the reality is, Tim Kaine has not been a friend to labor. Right? And I am a working woman, and I work within labor. I’m a union member. And Tim Kaine has not been a friend to the labor movement. Right?

AMY GOODMAN: Explain.

KATY ROEMER: Well, I mean, he’s basically not been—he’s not been friendly to us. He’s voted against—you know, certainly, if you support fast track for TPP, you’ve got a problem. Right? Because that is an absolute attack on organized labor in this country.

NANCY KIM: Hi. My name is Nancy Kim. I’m a PLEO delegate from Los Angeles, California. I’m a millennial. And the sign I’m holding here today is “No to TPP,” because this is NAFTA on steroids. America does not know about it. The magnitude of the problem of the TPP, nobody knows about it. Corporate media is not talking about it. This is going to affect our planet. This is going to affect our families, our people. It’s basically, in a nutshell—I mean, it’s over 5,000 pages, 30 chapters. Only six chapters of it is actually about trade, and the rest of it is all about corporate domination. And it’s basically the end of democracy and end of humanity, basically. And we want to bring attention to it. It’s our job. Our constituents chose us to come out here and represent them. And it’s not about a cult of personality or just a person that’s running for office, like Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton or whoever. It’s about the issues. And I’m a community organizer in Los Angeles, and these issues are not just words on a paper. It’s real. So we’re here to make—it’s day one. It’s not even midday, and I lost my voice, because I’m here to do whatever it takes to really bring justice and let everyone know the truth. People, once they know the truth, even Hillary Clinton people, they will love Bernie Sanders.

AMY GOODMAN: That report from the convention floor, with special thanks to John Hamilton. When we come back, we’ll speak with Dr. Jill Stein, who’s running for president of the Green Party—who’s running for president on the Green Party ticket. She was the Green Party’s 2012 presidential nominee. Ben Jealous will also be with us, former NAACP president, Bernie Sanders surrogate, who spoke at the convention last night in favor of Hillary Clinton. This is Democracy Now! Stay with us.

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