Hillary Clinton has been under fire since the news broke last Friday that she covered up sexual misconduct that happened within her campaign when she was running for the 2008 Democratic nomination against Barack Obama.
The New York Times published an expose that revealed that a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young woman. Instead of letting him go, Hillary Clinton specifically requested that he be kept on the campaign. The New York Times reported the scandal according to four people familiar with what took place.
The NY Times says Clinton’s campaign manager at the time recommended that she fire the adviser, Burns Strider. Clinton declined to do so. Instead, Strider was docked several weeks of pay, and he was ordered to undergo counseling.
Her campaign manager at the time, Patti Solis Doyle, revealed in an interview that Clinton personally "overruled" her recommendation that she fire a top campaign staffer accused of sexual harassment in 2008.
Clinton responded to the issue briefly on Twitter. However, she failed to apologize.
Solis Doyle also expressed disappointment that Clinton's statement. She said she'd hoped she would show more remorse for the decision.
“I was disappointed by that tweet, that response," Solis Doyle said. "It was the wrong call. I wish she had said it was the wrong call.”
On Tuesday night, 15 minutes before President Trump's State of the Union address, Clinton released a longer statement. As the Washington Examiner pointed out, she chose to make the statement when all eyes were focused on the White House.
In the statement that she released on Facebook, Clinton wrote, "The most important work of my life has been to support and empower women. I’ve tried to do so here at home, around the world, and in the organizations I’ve run. I started in my twenties, and four decades later I’m nowhere near being done. I’m proud that it’s the work I’m most associated with, and it remains what I’m most dedicated to," she began, defending her (possibly not deserved) reputation.
She continued, "So I very much understand the question I’m being asked as to why I let an employee on my 2008 campaign keep his job despite his inappropriate workplace behavior. The short answer is this: If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t."
She defended her decision to keep Strider on, saying "I did this because I didn’t think firing him was the best solution to the problem. He needed to be punished, change his behavior, and understand why his actions were wrong. The young woman needed to be able to thrive and feel safe. I thought both could happen without him losing his job. I believed the punishment was severe and the message to him unambiguous."
She added, "I also believe in second chances. I’ve been given second chances and I have given them to others. I want to continue to believe in them."
However, as she admitted, Strider's second chance was "squandered." Reports show he went on to harass other women at organizations affiliated with Clinton.
She concluded, "You may question why it’s taken me time to speak on this at length. The answer is simple: I’ve been grappling with this and thinking about how best to share my thoughts. I hope that my doing so will push others to keep having this conversation—to ask and try to answer the hard questions, not just in the abstract but in the real-life contexts of our roles as men, women, bosses, employees, advocates, and public officials. I hope that women will continue to talk and write about their own experiences and that they will continue leading this critical debate, which, done right, will lead to a better, fairer, safer country for us all."
The full statement can be read on Clinton's Facebook.