PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Delaware Senator Chris Coons addressed the scandal that besmirched the opening of the Democratic National Convention the Philadelphia, saying the release of internal emails from Wikileaks will not distract from a showing of party unity or from the goal of defeating Donald Trump in November.

Coons told Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 that the emails were disturbing and changes need to be made, but that the Sanders campaign understands what is at stake long term.

“I am pleased that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is choosing to step. I think that is in the best interest of the party and party unity. I think it’s time. This is a very disturbing development that a whole series of DNC emails were apparently hacked by Russian cyber-hackers and then intentionally leaked in a way that was timed to try and exacerbate tensions within the Democratic party…Bernie’s campaign manager said now is the time for party unity. Senator Sanders is going to be fully supportive of this ticket and we’re going to move forward.”

He insisted that Hillary Clinton’s primary rival for the Democratic nomination will be an asset to the former Secretary of State as the race advances.

“Bernie Sanders is the same person today that he was 20 years ago and 40 years ago. He has been fighting for an economic progressive vision of this country his whole adult life. He deeply means it. He is deeply passionate about it and he will be a very effective voice in the Democratic caucus because his campaign was so effective. He brought millions of people in to this election who might not have otherwise been engaged at all.”

Coons believes the events this week in Philadelphia will draw a sharp contrast with the internal upheaval inside the Republican party.

“I think you will see unity at this convention which is in striking contrast to Senator Cruz, with whom I also serve and also know very well, who refused to endorse Donald Trump, who said vote your conscience memorably in his speech at the Cleveland convention. One of the striking challenges the Republican party faces is that Donald Trump holds a whole series of positions that are different from any Republican candidate for President in the last 40 of 50 years. He has publicly denounced the Chamber of Commerce and picked fights with leaders in Republican party, from John McCain and Lindsey Graham to Ben Sasse and Jeff Flake. I don’t think you’ll see anything like here in Philadelphia. I think you will see a united party moving forward in a positive direction.”

He also praised Clinton for selecting Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate, stating that he is more than qualified to handle the responsibilities of the position.

 

“I’ve had to a chance to get to know him well and to see how he works and to hear how he thinks. He serves on the Armed Services Committee and on the Foreign Relations Committee. Tim is ready to be President should that become necessary. That, I think, is the first test of a Vice-Presidential candidate, whether or not they’ve got the experience and the capability. Tim was previously both a Mayor and a Governor. He understands how to run a government, how to make a government work well in a red state. He understands how to work across the aisle with a Republican controlled legislature.”