With all of Washington focused on President Trump’s first State of the Union address, Hillary Clinton released her response to reports that she shielded a 2008 campaign adviser who sexually harassed young women.
The adviser, Burns Strider, was reportedly sent to counseling before he was allowed to return, while the female staffer was reassigned. Strider’s harassment is reported to have continued at his next job for a Democratic political action committee.
In an almost 1500-word statement posted to Facebook, Clinton said she would have handled the situation “differently” now, but defended her actions as appropriate for the time.
“I’ve been given second chances and I have given them to others. I want to continue to believe in them. But sometimes they’re squandered. In this case, while there were no further complaints against him for the duration of the campaign, several years after working for me he was terminated from another job for inappropriate behavior. That reoccurrence troubles me greatly, and it alone makes clear that the lesson I hoped he had learned while working for me went unheeded. Would he have done better – been better – if I had fired him? Would he have gotten that next job? There is no way I can go back 10 years and know the answers. But you can bet I’m asking myself these questions right now,” Clinton said.
Clinton also took a swipe at The New York Times, which broke the story, over sexual misconduct allegations leveled against NYT reporter Glenn Thrush.
“At the time, I believed the punishment I imposed was severe and fit the offense. Indeed, while we are revisiting whether my decision from a decade ago was harsh enough, many employers would be well served to take actions at least as severe when confronted with problems now – including the very media outlet that broke this story,” Clinton said.
“They recently opted to suspend and reinstate one of their journalists who exhibited similarly inappropriate behavior, rather than terminate him. A decade from now, that decision may not look as tough as it feels today. The norms around sexual harassment will likely have continued to change as swiftly and significantly in the years to come as they have over the years until now.”
Her full statement can be seen here.