Hillary Clinton says she should have sacked a male staffer accused of sexual misconduct while working on her 2008 presidential campaign.
Clinton made the remarks in a lengthy Facebook post on Tuesday night just minutes before President Donald Trump began his 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 behaviour,” Clinton wrote. “The short answer is this: If I had it to do again, I wouldn’t.”
The aide, Burns Strider, was accused by a younger female subordinate of repeated sexual harassment in late 2007.
Two advisers looked into the complaints and recommended that Strider be fired, according to the New York Times, which first broke the story. Clinton overruled them, although she did punish Strider.
Clinton said she demoted him, docked his pay, separated him from the woman, assigned her to work under another campaign official and required Strider to seek counselling. He was also warned that any further harassment toward anyone would lead to his dismissal.
“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 behaviour 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.”
About five years later, Strider was fired from a Democratic political action committee after he was accused by another young woman of sexual harassment.
“That reoccurrence troubles me greatly, and it alone makes clear that the lesson I hoped he had learned while working for me went unheeded.
“Would he have done better –- been better –- if I had fired him? Would he have gotten that next job? There is no way I can go back 10 years and know the answers. But you can bet I’m asking myself these questions right now,” Clinton wrote.