Burns Strider, the faith adviser Hillary hired to work on her 2008 campaign, kept his job despite allegations he acted inappropriately toward a woman he worked with. Eventually, he took another job working for one of David Brock’s groups (Correct the Record) where he once again was accused of acting inappropriately. The outlines of all of this were sketched out by the NY Times Friday, but Saturday night Buzzfeed published a story offering additional details on the allegations.
On Nov. 15, 2007, the young woman sat for an interview with a top campaign official. Notes about that meeting describe her account of Strider’s behavior as follows:
- gets “angry when she does not share or reveal personal information”;
- is “touchy,” including “5 kisses on the head (on one occasion closing the door to do so, one occasion in the elevator)”;
- “wants her to leave all events with him”;
- “makes a point of always leaving with her (she varies her times to try to avoid him, but he asks her to wait so they can commute together)”;
- engages in “excessive tracking of whereabouts”;
- “said he loved her as a friend”;
- “told her he wants to get her drunk”;
- “told her he buys porn while on the road for travel.”
Strider subsequently apologized for the comment about getting his subordinate drunk and, in an interview with Buzzfeed, claimed the comment about porn wasn’t him but someone else. But he clearly is crossing workplace/personal lines with his behavior. Buzzfeed quotes one entire email Strider sent the unnamed woman at 10:44 pm:
There’s no need to react to this email… Don’t want you jumping at me 🙂 I’m thinking about you… Mercy I hope you’re having a good evening… I haven’t met anyone as amazing as you are in a very long time… And its [sic] ALL of you that’s amazing… The whole package [name redacted]. You have an internal and external poise and beauty that is so compelling. People are better off for knowing you. I count myself at the top of that list. You bring so much more into a relationship than I ever could… Look, I can’t type as much as I’d like on this bb. And you don’t want to hear it all… And you likely don’t benefit that much from what I have to say… I just want you to understand how valuable you are in the lives of people who encounter you and that its [sic] all of you that makes you that way… I hope you understand what I’m saying… You’re filling my mind tonight so I needed to share.
Hope, Joy, Celebration
Based on this evidence, Clinton’s campaign manager and national director of operations decided that Strider should be fired. Hillary looked at the same information and decided he should stay, albeit with a demotion and a pay cut. Years later Strider got a job running David Brock’s Correct the Record and, here again, he was accused of misconduct, this time by two different women.
The woman arrived at Correct the Record at the same time as her boss. Quickly, she said, he started remarking on her looks, with comments like “You look sexy.” The former subordinate also described “constant touching.” Strider would rub her back and shoulders and approach her from behind to grab her waist, she said. She and three other former employees said Strider would offer unsolicited back rubs to female staffers while they sat at their workstation, a long line of tables set up in Correct the Record’s own corner of the American Bridge offices on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington…
In February 2014, Strider and the subordinate attended a work event in Mississippi. The woman’s mother attended as a guest, and saw Strider rub her daughter’s back while the two of them worked the event, the former subordinate said. The following week, she decided to quit, leaving Correct the Record that same day.
The other woman mentioned in the story also says Strider frequently made comments about her looks and once got out of an Uber they shared to kiss her on the nose. She complained the next day and he relented and apologized. But the woman began looking for a new job and quit the moment one was offered.
Strider was finally fired in 2015 after nearly two years at Correct the Record. Hillary Clinton was not involved in managing him there, but he would not have been eligible for that position in the first place if he’d previously been fired from Clinton’s campaign. Friday evening, Hillary expressed how proud she was of the victim but the real question is whether she is proud of herself for protecting him. Apparently, Clinton and Strider are still relatively close:
Hillary seems to have a high tolerance level for men accused of sexual harassment. I can’t imagine why.