LAS VEGAS, May 17 (UPI) -- Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz slammed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a fellow Democrat, for failing to more strongly condemn violence on the part of his supporters at the Nevada party convention.
The criticism came after Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada was also critical of Sanders on Tuesday for failing to quell supporters after a fight broke out during his state's Democratic convention in Las Vegas.
Sanders supporters were outraged Saturday that 60 potential delegates for him were ruled ineligible during a dispute over arcane party convention rules.
Sanders condemned the violence in a statement Tuesday, but also defended his supporters and blamed the Nevada state party for mishandling the convention and its failure to "treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned."
Wasserman Schultz said Sanders needed to condemn violence by supporters without qualification.
"That needs to be unequivocally condemned and unfortunately it has not been unequivocally condemned. ... There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it," she said during an interview with CNN. "Unfortunately the senator's response was anything but acceptable."
Nevada Democratic Chairwoman Roberta Lange was presiding over the convention Saturday, which was held at the Paris Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip, when Sanders supporters grew agitated as it became clear Clinton would win a majority of delegates.
Clinton won the Nevada caucuses in February, but Sanders' supporters worked hard to elect loyalists to the party convention, where members the state's delegation to the Democratic National Committee are selected. The Sanders camp had hoped to earn a split of Nevada delegates with Clinton, or better, after the convention concluded.
The angst from Sanders supporters was clear from the beginning of Saturday's gathering. California Sen. Barbara Boxer, who has endorsed Clinton but has been a leading voice in the liberal wing of the party, was heckled loudly and with profanities while speaking to delegates on Clinton's behalf.
As the convention atmosphere deteriorated, Lange called for a voice vote to adjourn the convention and immediately ruled the measure had passed, despite vocal opposition from Sanders supporters. Lange left the dais immediately and fled the convention site, saying later the scene had gotten out of control.
Reid, who maintains a close personal relationship with Sanders, called on him to do more to reign in his supporters and ensure that at the conclusion of the primary calendar they will be able to support Clinton if she wins the nomination.
Reid said it is incumbent on Sanders to put a stop to the intra-party feud as it becomes increasingly apparent he will fall short in his bid to win the nomination, with Clinton's significant lead in delegates.
"He said that he condemns [violence], and I am confident that he does," Reid said of Sanders. "This is a test of leadership, as we all know, and I'm hopeful and very confident that Sen. Sanders will do the right thing."
The abrupt end to the convention did not help improve the security situation. Sanders supporters refused to leave the ballroom, which initially was only being guarded by hotel security before police were called in to clear the scene.
Video shot by convention-goers shows an apparent Sanders supporter throwing a chair. A fight at the foot of the dais was broken up, as well. No injuries were reported.
Sanders supporters have since spread Lange's cellphone number online and she told The New York Times she has received death threats against her and her family.
"I'm scared for my family, scared for my kids," Lange said.