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Wasserman Schultz stands by aide over Facebook flap

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the Democratic National Committee’s new Jewish outreach liaison should be forgiven for her 6-year-old Facebook post that used the term “Jewbags.”

Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the DNC’s chairwoman, highlighted the problems that social media can cause in today’s society in standing by Danielle “Dani” Gilbert, who has apologized for the post. Both Wasserman Schultz and Gilbert are Jewish.

“She was 20 when she posted that picture,” Wasserman Schultz said in response to a reporter’s question at a Florida campaign event. “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.”

Gilbert was a former staffer in Wasserman Schultz’s legislative office. Her parents are financial supporters of Wasserman Schultz and President Obama. 

After her appointment to the new role of Jewish outreach liaison for the DNC was announced, the conservative Washington Free Beacon unearthed the Facebook photos of Gilbert jokingly referring to herself and her friends using the terms “Jewbags” and the “Jew cash-money team.”

Gilbert apologized last week through a Twitter post. 

“I apologize for any harm postings on my Facebook page made years ago may have caused anyone. I meant no offense,” she wrote.

Wasserman Schultz defended her aides bona fides and reiterated that she was highly qualified for the position she was about to undertake. 

“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.”

DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse defended Gilbert’s credentials in a statement sent to the news source BuzzFeed. In the statement, Woodhouse said that "no smear driven by the right-wing noise machine is going to impact her status as a trusted member of this team.”

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