Ten years ago, Hillary Clinton made a mistake. One that arguably (and sadly) holds even more weight today than it did in 2008. One that despite – no – because of her reputation as champion of women, Clinton is fully prepared to admit.
Her apparent transgression? As surfaced by The New York Times late last month, the then-Democratic presidential candidate allowed senior campaign advisor, Burns Strider, to escape with his job, despite the fact that he’d been accused of sexual harassment by a female subordinate.
In a 1500-word mea culpa shared to her Facebook page, the 70-year-old offered a nuanced reflection on her decision to retain the ‘Faith Based Operations’ guru all those years ago, one that she boiled down to the following:
“The short answer is this: If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t.”
LISTEN: Does this change the way we should think about Hillary Clinton? Mia Freedman and Amelia Lester discuss. Post continues after.
According to three sources who spoke to the paper, a 30-year-old woman who worked with the American Values Network founder, “told a campaign official that Mr. Strider had rubbed her shoulders inappropriately, kissed her on the forehead and sent her a string of suggestive emails.”
Following an internal investigation, Clinton chose to dock his pay for several weeks, separate him physically and technologically from his accuser and stipulate that he undergo counselling. This decision was reached despite the recommendation of her campaign manager that Strider be sacked.
“I did this because I didn’t think firing him was the best solution to the problem,” Clinton wrote. “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.”
He needed to be punished…
As it turned out, Strider was fired from a subsequent position for “workplace issues,” which according to The New York Times included “allegations that he harassed a young female aide”.