Days after Hillary Clinton was accused of shielding a former top aide from sexual harassment claims made by a female subordinate during her 2008 presidential campaign, the former Democratic presidential nominee has come forward to explain her controversial decision to not fire the staffer despite the allegations.
While Clinton docked faith adviser Burns Strider’s pay in light of the accusations and ordered him to undergo therapy, some #Metoo movement advocates argued that she did not go far enough. Clinton fired back in a Facebook post published moments before President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
“I did this because I didn’t think firing him was the best solution to the problem,” she 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,” Clinton continued. “I believed the punishment was severe and the message to him unambiguous.”
Clinton pointed to her belief in “second chances” and to the inherent difficulty in making “thousands of personnel decisions” as reasons why the Strider issue has caused great personal conflict for her.
“Taking away someone’s livelihood is perhaps the most serious thing an employer can do,” she wrote. “When faced with a situation like this, if I think it’s possible to avoid termination while still doing right by everyone involved, I am in inclined in that direction. I do not put this forward as a virtue or a vice – just as a fact about how I view these matters.”
In the aftermath of the scandal, which emerged with a New York Times report published last week, Clinton claims to have reached out to the accuser. The woman allegedly told Clinton that she “flourished in her new role” after she was reassigned and gave her former employer “permission” to share her story.