As predicted, Bob Filner resigned as mayor of San Diego yesterday — and showed as much class going out as he did when sticking around. He tearfully apologized for his indiscretions in his statement, but then insisted that they weren’t sexual harassment — and that the effort to force his resignation amounted to a “coup”:
This clip captures what really is a non-apology apology, offering regrets for “putting the city through this,” and apologizing if women found his behavior offensive. That’s not an admission that he behaved offensively — it’s a “sorry if you were offended” statement. Of course, Filner may face an avalanche of lawsuits, so he has to be careful about making any public admissions that may be used in court against him.
That doesn’t explain the demands for his ouster over his behavior being explained in hysterical terms as a “coup,” though:
A short time later, though, Filner went on the defensive. While admitting that his behavior toward women was inappropriate at times, he insisted that he “never sexually harassed anyone.”
In the process of “trying to establish personal relationships,” the mayor explained, “the combination of awkwardness and hubris, I think, led to behavior that many found offensive.” He added, “Not one allegation … has ever been independently verified or proven in court.”
“But the hysteria that has been created … is the hysteria of a lynch mob,” Filner said, criticizing an environment in which “rumors become allegations, allegations become facts, facts become evidence of sexual harassment which have led to demands for my resignation and recall.”
Blasting politicians and members of the media who “unleashed a monster,” the mayor said, “The hysteria ended up playing into the hands of those who wanted a political coup — the removal of a democratically elected mayor purely by rumor and innuendo.”
“They found the weapons they needed in my own failures as a human being,” Filner said of “well-organized interests” opposed to him. “But they found with those weapons and they used them, in a bloody and vicious way.”
Oh, please. Filner could have prevailed in court on public funding for his defense, and he didn’t have to resign. Filner quit because he had no political cover any longer, and because the recall effort to remove him had a good chance of success — with no more leverage to cut a deal for some kind of indemnity against the judgments likely to come in court. He got the city to drop its own lawsuit against him in the meantime as part of the agreement, although it doesn’t appear to have any impact on the criminal investigation by the state Attorney General’s office, which they confirmed after the resignation.
Even at this late stage, Filner hasn’t learned to keep his mouth shut, it seems.