Clinton on keeping faith adviser: ‘If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t’
WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton, in a lengthy Facebook post explaining her decision not to fire a senior adviser on her 2008 campaign who was accused of sexual harassment, said she did not fire him because she didn’t think it was “the best solution to the problem,” but that she shouldn’t make the same decision today.
The post was released minutes before President Donald Trump, the man who defeated her in 2016, stepped to the podium at the Capitol to deliver his first State of the Union address.
“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,” Clinton writes. “The short answer is this: If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t.”
Clinton, much to the chagrin of her aides in 2008, decided not to fire her faith adviser, Burns Strider, after a woman he worked with accused him of harassment that included inappropriate touching, kissing her forehead and sending her suggestive emails.
After hearing of the complaint, campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle and other senior aides urged Clinton to fire Strider, but Clinton declined to dismiss him and kept him on for the rest of her failed run for the Democratic presidential nomination, the sources said.
Clinton added in her post that she did not think that firing Strider, who went on to be fired from his job at a pro-Clinton super PAC because of multiple allegations of sexual harassment, was the “best solution to the problem” and that she believes in second chances.
“He needed to be punished, change his behavior, and understand why his actions were wrong,” she wrote. “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.”
The fact that Strider went on to harass more women “troubles me greatly, and it alone makes clear that the lesson I hoped he had learned while working for me went unheeded.”
A Clinton aide said the fact that the message was posted minutes before Trump’s State of the Union began was due to nothing more than that was when it was finished.
“It’s simply when she finished writing it,” the aide said.
The Clintons’ history with sexual assault has made it difficult for the couple to speak out during the cultural conversation about sexual assault, harassment and workplace dynamics.
Clinton makes no mention of her husband’s affair or the accusations against him in the message.