George Stephanopoulos apologized on air for a second time, for the $75K in donations he’s made to the Clinton Foundation since 2011. The latest statement came 14 minutes into this morning’s ABC News’s Sunday Beltway show This Week. It was the same apology he’d read on air Friday, on Good Morning America, about the donations.
“Over the last several years I’ve made substantial donations to dozens of charities, including the Clinton Foundation,” Stephanopoulos said. “Those donations were a matter of public record but I should have made additional disclosures on air when we covered the foundation.
“I now believe that direct and personal donations to that foundation was a mistake. Even though I made them to support work done to stop the spread of AIDS, help children, and protect the environment in poor countries, I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. I apologize to all of you for failing to do that.”
Then he threw to commercial. Much better than Friday, when it fell to Amy Robach to awkwardly segue, “George, we have a lot of weather news to get to.”
This time, after a slew of ads, Stephanopoulos was back, focusing on the “tough week” Jeb Bush had, after telling Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly he would still have invaded Iraq, in answer to a question as to whether he would have, knowing what we know now. Bush says his misunderstood the question, but the damage control dragged on for days and involved several different takes.
Similarly, Stephanopoulos had to try a couple different takes while doing damage control during his tough week. In the first take, he apologized for not having told his employer or viewers about the donation when he was reporting on the Foundation for ABC News. Take 2, on Thursday, saw Stephanopoulos saying he now realized he should not have made the donations, and he would not moderate ABC News’ GOP primary debate in February. That, after several Republican politicians demanded the longtime journalist/former Clinton staffer recuse himself from covering the 2016 presidential race for the network after the donation news broke.
As the news division’s chief political correspondent, host of its Sunday Beltway show This Week and GMA co-anchor, Stephanopoulos has spent about four times more of his life working as a journalist than he did working for President Clinton as communications director and senior adviser. The donation news, mixed with his personal connection to the Clintons, damaged a years’-long effort, according to industry navel-gazers. Friday morning’s debut of his on-air apology on Good Morning America had come not a moment too soon: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was his This Week guest today. McConnell appeared after Stephanopoulos repeated his mea culpa on the program.