Donna Brazile held secret deliberations to discuss using her power as interim chair of the Democratic National Committee to replace Hillary Clinton as the party’s nominee after the former first lady suffered a fainting spell on the campaign trail last September, she writes in her bombshell memoir.
The Washington Post reports that Brazile reveals in her memoir that she considered replacing Clinton with then-Vice President Joe Biden or New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker because of the former secretary of state’s “anemic” campaign.
Clinton’s effort, which carried with it an “odor of failure,” was struggling to appeal to white working-class voters, writes Brazile in the book, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House.”
The Post obtained an advance copy of the 288-page memoir, which will be released on Tuesday.
Clinton fainted on Sept. 11, 2016 at an event in New York City. She was later diagnosed with pneumonia and spent several days away from the campaign trail. Video of her fainting spell went viral and was cited by conservatives as evidence that the former secretary of state was too frail to carry out the duties of president.
Brazile, a longtime Democratic consultant who managed Al Gore’s 2000 White House bid, says that she first became concerned about Clinton’s health on Sept. 9, following an event in Manhattan.
Brazile said that Clinton appeared “wobbly on her feet” with a “rattled cough,” according to The Post.
As acting chairwoman of the DNC, Brazile had the power to replace the party’s nominee if they became disabled. Brazile reminded the Clinton campaign of that authority, which was included in the DNC charter.
Clinton’s fainting spell triggered talk inside Democratic circles that Brazile could exercise that authority. She said that Biden’s chief of staff contacted her a day after Clinton passed out.
“Gee, I wonder what he wanted to talk to me about?” she said to herself, she recalls in her book.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, also called, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democratic primary participant, sent an email.
Clinton’s campaign sought to get ahead of a potential end-around. She said that Clinton campaign official Charlie Baker visited her at DNC headquarters to make sure she did not make a drastic move.
Brazile writes that she heavily considered appointing Biden but could not pull the trigger to replace the first female nominee for president.
“Again and again I thought about Joe Biden,” Brazile writes, according to The Post.
“No matter my doubts and my fears about the election and Hillary as a candidate, I could not make good on that threat to replace her.”
“I thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.”
Brazile’s book offers a scathing assessment of the internal workings of the Clinton campaign. She describes standoffs with campaign officials, including manager Robby Mook.
She also describes the lack of enthusiasm for Clinton both on the campaign trail and at campaign headquarters in Brooklyn.
“Calm and antiseptic, like a hospital,” she said of Clinton HQ.
“It had that techno-hush, as if someone had died. I felt like I should whisper. Everybody’s fingers were on their keyboards, and no one was looking at anyone else. You half-expected to see someone in a lab coat walk by.”