Hillary Clinton is finally explaining why she chose not to fire a top aide for her 2008 campaign who was accused of sexual harassment.
The former Democratic presidential candidate wrote a long post on Facebook explaining her decision just minutes before President Donald Trump was scheduled to deliver his first State of the Union address.
Clinton revealed that although she chose not to fire the aide at the time, she would not make the same decision today if she were in faced with the same situation.
“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,” she started her post. “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.”
“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,” she continued. “The short answer is this: If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t.”
Last week, The New York Times reported that Clinton had kept on her then-top faith adviser, Burns Strider, after he was accused of inappropriately touching and sending suggestive emails to a subordinate. Clinton was advised to fire Strider, but she did not, choosing instead to dock his pay, ordered him to go to counseling and moved the subordinate to another position.
Years later, Strider was fired from a pro-Clinton PAC due to similar allegations.
In her post, Clinton explained why she didn’t fire Strider, saying that she didn’t think firing him was the “best solution,” so she asked for steps to be taken short of firing.
“I asked for steps that could be taken short of termination. In the end, I decided to demote him, docking his pay; separate him from the woman; assign her to work directly for my then-deputy-campaign manager; put in place technical barriers to his emailing her; and require that he seek counseling. He would also be warned that any subsequent harassment of any kind toward anyone would result in immediate termination,” she wrote.
“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,” she explained. “I believed the punishment was severe and the message to him unambiguous. 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.”
After The New York Times ran the story on Clinton protecting her aide, she tweeted that she was proud of her former staffer for coming forward and sharing her story, writing, “I called her today to tell her how proud I am of her and to make sure she knows what all women should: we deserve to be heard.”