A campaign manager for Hillary Clinton's failed 2008 presidential bid on Monday castigated Clinton for ignoring her advice to fire a senior adviser accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a younger female campaign staffer.
The New York Times reported Friday that Patti Solis Doyle recommended the presidential candidate fire her faith adviser, Burns Strider, but Clinton instead decided he would undergo counseling and be docked several weeks of his pay.
"I did my due diligence. I interviewed all the parties involved. I looked at the evidence. I looked at some emails that he had sent. I had looked at other documents and came to the conclusion that there was sexual harassment involved, that the young woman was very credible," Solis Doyle said on CNN Monday. "And my recommendation to the senator was to fire him. And I was overruled."
Host Brianna Keilar clarified whether there were other officials from the campaign that came to the same conclusion. Solis Doyle confirmed there were other individuals who were part of the investigation and they agreed he should not be working on the campaign.
"So she overruled you personally?" Keilar asked.
"I was overruled, yes," Solis Doyle said.
Later in the interview, Keilar talked about Clinton's Twitter response to the Times story on Friday and asked the former campaign manager why Clinton didn't reflect on her decision to keep Strider on by admitting she made the "wrong call."
"I don't know. I was disappointed by that tweet, that response. It was the wrong call. I wish she had said it was the wrong call. I wish she had said, ‘having to do it over I would have fired him,'" Solis Doyle said. "I think that's actually true. I believe that she thinks that ‘if I had to do it over again, I would fire him.'"
"But she doesn't say it," Keilar said, pointing out Strider never even attended the counseling prescribed by Clinton.
Clinton acknowledged Friday night that she knew about the accusations against Strider in 2009. The former candidate said she was "dismayed" when she learned of the accusations but was "heartened" by the 30-year-old campaign staffer's decision to come forward at the time.
A story appeared today about something that happened in 2008. I was dismayed when it occurred, but was heartened the young woman came forward, was heard, and had her concerns taken seriously and addressed.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 27, 2018
Keilar pointed out Strider didn't suffer any fallout publicly after the 2008 campaign was over and that he would later go on to be a senior adviser at a pro-Clinton political action committee, Correct the Record, which was created in 2014 to defend Clinton before she announced she was running for president again. Soon, however, the organization completed a review of multiple complaints that Strider initiated inappropriate touching and frequently kissed staffers in a nonconsensual way. He was ultimately fired from Correct the Record by the summer of 2015.
Solis Doyle said she read the BuzzFeed report, published Saturday, on Strider, which further detailed his alleged behavior. The former campaign manager referenced one young woman's account about how she felt she wasn't strong enough to work in politics because she couldn't endure sexual harassment. The accounts have led her to feel a "great deal of regret" that she didn't "fight harder" for Strider to be fired from the campaign.
"Strider right now is the president of the American Values Network. It is a group that organizes Americans of faith toward progressive causes. Does he need to go?" Keilar asked.
Solis Doyle said he needs to go and that she is "more than happy" to help in that effort.
Keilar then cited the Times and BuzzFeed reports, and mentioned how Strider has responded to the charges.
"He dismissed some of his actions as simply friendly, or characteristic of what he described as his ‘Southern background.' At the same time, he apologized broadly for his behavior and noted that he has struggled with depression and is in therapy," BuzzFeed‘s Ruby Cramer wrote.
"Do you think he gets it?" Keilar asked.
"Not at all. He attributed his behavior to him being religious and to him being from the South. That is just, as I tweeted, out-freaking-rageous," Solis Doyle said. "It is enraging to me. I know plenty of religious people and I know plenty of people from the South and they don't treat women that way."
"This is just OUT. FUC****. RAGEOUS," Solis Doyle said on Twitter, quote-tweeting Times reporter Amy Chozick. Chozick had tweeted that Strider explained his decision to routinely kiss the heads of staffers as being a religious action and part of his daily "devotionals."
This is just OUT. FUC****. RAGEOUS https://t.co/spdkrqIfFb
— Patti Solis Doyle (@PattiSolisDoyle) January 28, 2018