Wasserman Schultz opts out of Women's March: 'I cannot stand alongside it'

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D- Fla., once the face of the Women’s March, has chosen to distance herself from the organization ahead of Saturday’s events because of what she calls the leadership's failure to renounce “peddlers of hate.”

In an op-ed published in USA Today, Wasserman Schultz announced she would not be walking in this year’s Washington march because of leaders' failure to “repudiate anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.”

“I walked away from the Women’s March on Washington two years ago absolutely electrified by the promise of what a movement built around sisterhood and solidarity could accomplish,” she started off.

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“While I still firmly believe in its values and mission, I cannot associate with the national march’s leaders and principles, which refuse to completely repudiate anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. I cannot walk shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate.”

"I cannot walk shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate.”

— Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D- Fla.

Wasserman Schultz, who is Jewish, pointed to a particular instance she calls “most troubling,” where the national movement has aligned itself with Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan.

She called out co-chair Tamika Mallory, who she said attended the NOI’s annual Savior’s Day event last year where Farrakhan called Jews “the mother and father of apartheid.”

Women in red march from Freedom Plaza to the White House during a Day Without a Woman protest in Washington, USA on March 8, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Women in red march from Freedom Plaza to the White House during a Day Without a Woman protest in Washington, USA on March 8, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Wasserman Schultz listed other alarming comments made by Farrakhan.

“It should not be difficult to condemn this hate speech and the person who constantly voices it,” she said of Mallory and other leadership. “Yet, at almost every turn, Mallory has failed to clearly denounce Farrakhan. Instead, she has attended Farrakhan’s speeches and posted her support for him on social media, referring to him as the ‘GOAT’ — or, the Greatest Of All Time.”

“When I marched alongside hundreds of thousands of sisters in Washington in 2017, it was with a hope that we would never have to go down that road again. We marched to fight oppression wherever it exists. We marched to raise our voices against hate and discrimination. We did not march to help promote it.”

— Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D- Fla.

She said she will continue her protest of the organization until it cuts ties “with those who promulgate hate and anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

“Until it does, I cannot stand alongside it.”

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Wasserman Schultz sad there are other women, like her, who want to disassociate with the national movement as it has gone away from its original principles. She said she will join other chapters this weekend who will hold local marches separate from Mallory’s organization.

“When I marched alongside hundreds of thousands of sisters in Washington in 2017, it was with a hope that we would never have to go down that road again. We marched to fight oppression wherever it exists. We marched to raise our voices against hate and discrimination. We did not march to help promote it.”