Ex-Clinton campaign chief says she was overruled on decision not to fire adviser
Hillary Clinton’s former presidential campaign manager said Monday she was overruled when she recommended firing Burns Strider, who was accused of sexual harassment when he worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential run.
“There were a few people involved in the investigation … but the people involved in it believed that he should not be working in our campaign,” Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton’s 2008 campaign leader and a CNN political commentator, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.
When asked if she was personally overruled by Clinton over whether to fire Strider, Solis Doyle said, “I was overruled, yes.” She later added that Clinton “made the wrong call.”
A female campaign staffer had accused Strider, her supervisor, of harassment that included inappropriate touching, kissing her forehead and sending her suggestive emails. The woman shared an office with Strider, who has not responded to multiple requests for comment from CNN.
After hearing of the complaint, Solis Doyle and other senior aides urged Clinton to fire Strider, but Clinton declined to dismiss him and kept him on for the rest of her failed run for the Democratic nomination, two sources who worked on the 2008 campaign told CNN last week.
“It wasn’t an easy call,” Solis Doyle said. “Firing a high-profile person on the campaign would have certainly made news and caused a distraction.”
The woman was moved out of the office where she had been working with Strider, one source said, and the faith adviser was punished by having his pay docked for several weeks, having his title changed and being required to undergo sexual harassment training.
Strider never went to the counseling, and eventually led Correct the Record, an independent group that looked to rebut claims about Clinton as she prepared for her 2016 presidential run. The group was created by David Brock, a longtime Clinton ally.
Strider was later fired from the organization after a series of issues, including allegations that he harassed multiple female staffers in person and over email, two sources with knowledge of his departure told CNN.
The New York Times first reported the story on Friday.
In a tweet on Friday, Clinton said she was aware of the accusations and had addressed them when they happened.
“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,” she tweeted.
“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,” she added.
Solis Doyle said she was disappointed with Clinton’s statement.
“It was the wrong call. I wish she had said it was the wrong call,” she said.
Strider is currently the president of the American Values Network, a group that advocates for progressive Christian values. Solis Doyle said he should be removed from the position.
“He needs to go,” she said.