Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is accompanying President Obama to Israel, adding a decidedly political element to Obama’s first trip to the Holy Land as president.
Wasserman Schultz, who is Jewish, was joined on Air Force One by another House Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, who is also Jewish. No Republican lawmakers have been reported to be part of the president’s delegation.
Neither Wasserman Schultz nor Engel is a senior member of the congressional leadership, and it’s not clear why they accompanied Obama to Israel other than that they have a personal interest in seeing the country.
Wasserman Schultz is one of the more divisive members of Congress, rankling Republicans frequently with screeching political attacks. Her presence is sure to raise suspicions among Republicans about the president’s political motives for the trip.
It’s possible President Obama feels the need to placate her, having set up his own rival political organization – Organizing for America – that diminishes her role as DNC chair.