Hillary Clinton personally protected a senior advisor to her 2008 presidential campaign who was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young female staffer, according to a New York Times report on Friday.
Clinton allegedly ignored her campaign manager’s advice to fire “Faith Adviser” Burns Strider and instead moved the young woman who accused him of sexual harassment to another job.
In response to the publishing of the original story, Clinton took to Twitter to give her side of the story.
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.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 27, 2018
Some Twitter users and political pundits felt like her response wasn’t enough, especially since she didn’t expressly apologize for protecting Strider.
Well, it’s good to hear that you have a new lease on life considering you were the one silencing women before. Will you now, like many women looking at past ills, revisit how you in a position of power once shamed voiceless women?
— Shaughn (@Shaughn_A) January 28, 2018
you called her eight years later??? Eight years after you didn't defend or fire her attacker??? The only woman you care about is HRC!
— Ron Cantor (@RonSCantor) January 28, 2018
“It wasn’t quite the mea culpa some critics were looking for, given the details of the report,” wrote Vanity Fair’s Emma Stefansky.
“How do you write a primal scream?” remarked Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus in a biting op-ed.
“Infuriatingly, this episode and its aftermath exposes, once again, the trademark Clinton failure to take personal responsibility; … the refusal to cede any ground, no less apologize.”
Commentators also pointed out the startling hypocrisy behind Clinton’s rhetoric and actions.
“Sexual harassment can thrive even in a workplace that is the culture’s most on-the-nose symbol of women’s empowerment,” wrote Slate’s Christina Cauterucci, supporting harsh backlash against Clinton in the wake of this scandal.
“It disproves the comforting and false idea that people can be easily sorted into piles of good and bad actors when, in fact, there are a thousand degrees in between.”
The Atlantic’s Megan Garber commented on the hard-hitting hypocrisy behind the scandal, considering the fact that Clinton has spent her public career fighting for the ideas and ideals that #MeToo represents.
“Even she, though, hasn’t always lived up to her own soaring rhetoric,” Garber said.
From Benghazi to Uranium One, Clinton has been the subject of intense media scrutiny throughout most of her career, sometimes unfairly so. The clear-cut contradiction behind this scandal could very well tarnish whatever influence she has left among establishment Democrats.
In light of such a damaging revelation, it will be interesting to see whether Clinton’s long-term reputation will survive. It will also be worth keeping an eye on what the #MeToo movement will reveal next about political elites and what impact it will have on future handlings of workplace assault.