After days in which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came under fire for not responding to sexual harassment allegations surrounding Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, she issued a response Tuesday that did little to appease critics who said she failed to come down sufficiently hard on a man accused of sexual misconduct.
Clinton had made attacking sexual harassment and gender inequality one of the hallmarks of her 2016 presidential campaign. Thus, when news accounts began to report that Weinstein paid off sexual harassment accusers in a pattern that went back decades, they laid a clear framework for a blistering Clinton denunciation.
It did not come on Day One of the emerging scandal, or the next three days. Instead, reports emerged how Weinstein had donated to the Clintons and Clinton Foundation.
By Tuesday, the lack of any comment from Clinton was becoming a major story in its own right.
“You’d hope for better, but this is so typical Clinton denial, isn’t it?” Deadline quoted an inside source as saying. “With her history with Harvey, her husband’s history, nothing she can say will suffice at this point.”
The suspense ended late Tuesday when Clinton issued a terse condemnation.
“I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein,” she said in a statement release on Twitter. “The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”
Statement from Secretary Clinton on Harvey Weinstein: pic.twitter.com/L1l2wl9l0ILoading...
— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) October 10, 2017
Twitter found that response, which never addressed his donations to either the Clinton campaign or the Clinton Foundation, to be lacking.
Hillary Clinton finally condemns Weinstein.
“The behavior described by women cannot be tolerated.”
Unless your name is Bill Clinton.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) October 10, 2017
Others said the silence undercut Clinton’s claims to stand up for women.
“(T)he belated denunciation quickly fueled allegations that Clinton, like other establishment players, had conveniently ignored decades-old rumors of impropriety,” wrote Maya Kosoff in Vanity Fair.
Clinton was beaten to the punch by other Democrats who had been supported by Weinstein and decided to return donations they received from him.
“That is something Republicans and Democrats should agree on: That it is despicable and you have seen Democrats returning those donations. You’ve seen Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer. I applaud them for doing that,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said Monday.
She then noted the one silent voice speaking volumes.
“Where’s Hillary Clinton? Where’s she standing on this issue? She’s been silent. Her silence is deafening,” McDaniel said.