Here’s something you almost never see: A Clinton insider blaming Clinton for making a bad decision, albeit one she made more than 10 years ago. Patti Solis Doyle, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager for her 2008 run, appeared on CNN Monday morning to discuss what happened in 2007 when a woman working for the campaign reported that her supervisor, Burns Strider, was sexually harassing her. According to Doyle, she looked at all the evidence and decided Strider should be fired but was then overruled by then-Senator Clinton.
“The incident was brought to my attention and, you know, I did my due diligence,” Doyle said. She continued, “I interviewed all the parties involved. I looked at the evidence. I looked at some emails he had sent. I looked at other documents and came to the conclusion that there was sexual harassment involved; that the young woman was very credible. And my recommendation to the Senator was to fire him. And I was overruled.”
“So she overruled you personally?” CNN’s Brianna Keilar asked. At this point, there was a long pause and Doyle repeated, “I was overruled, yes.” Asked about the reasoning for that decision, Doyle refused to say. “You know, I really don’t want to divulge, you know, my private conversations or my private counsel to Hillary Clinton.” Actually, Doyle has already revealed her private counsel to Clinton. What she really doesn’t want to talk about is Hillary’s response. But as she continued talking you get a sense of what that response might have been.
“It wasn’t an easy call,” Doyle explained, adding, “None of these calls are easy and especially in a presidential campaign.” “Firing a high profile person on the campaign would have certainly made news and caused a distraction, so it wasn’t an easy call,” she said.
Doyle and others believed the woman was credible and that Strider needed to be fired, but it was a close call because firing him would have led to a bad news cycle? Doyle doesn’t quite say that’s why Hillary balked, but that’s a fair conclusion to draw from this. Hillary was more concerned about bad headlines than the victim in this case.
As Doyle keeps talking, the implied criticism of Hillary Clinton just keeps getting worse. “When you run an organization you really—your first instinct is to protect people,” Doyle said. She continued, “And I wanted to protect my team. I wanted to protect this young woman. I wanted to send a message that this kind of behavior is not okay. I wanted to make sure that other women, and men for that matter, could feel comfortable and free to speak up if something were to happen to them, if there were another incident.”
Notice Doyle keeps saying “I wanted…” This may be what she wanted but, given the outcome, the implication is it’s not what Hillary wanted. These are, in fact, the things Hillary rejected when she overruled Doyle and others to protect Burns Strider.
The discussion then turned to Hillary’s tweets about the incident, which were sent Friday night after the story broke. “She doesn’t admit that she messed up,” Keilar said, adding, “Why doesn’t she just look back and say ‘This was the wrong call’?”
“You know, I don’t know,” Doyle replied. “I was disappointed by that tweet, that response,” she said. She continued, “It was the wrong call. I wish she had said, you know, ‘having to do it over I would have fired him.'” Doyle goes on to say that, having read Buzzfeed’s report on Burns Strider harassing at least two women at his subsequent job, she regrets not fighting harder to have him fired.
At the end of this clip, to her credit, Keilar asks if Hillary’s past defense of Bill Clinton might play a role in her having a “blind spot” about this issue. Doyle dances around this question a bit but finally answers “No.” It’s the least credible thing she says in this interview.