Hillary Clinton, dinged for waiting so many days after The New York Times published its bombshell report on Harvey Weinstein to denounce her major campaign donor, gave her first televised interview on the subject to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. A portion ran tonight.
Zakaria noted that Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal says people should give back the money Weinstein donated to them, adding, “He donated money to you, directly and indirectly — would you give the money back?”
Responded Clinton, “Well, there’s no one to give it back to.”
She added: “What other people are saying, what my former colleagues are saying, is they’re going to donate it to charity, and of course I will do that. I give 10% of my income to charity every year. This will be part of that. There’s no – there’s no doubt about it.”
Clinton got torched in some quarters for waiting until Tuesday to make a statement about the scandal, after running for the White House on a campaign that focused so heavily on empowering women. Asked what was her reaction to hearing about so many women who now claim they had been sexually harassed and assaulted over decades by the Hollywood producer, Clinton gave another version of the statement she’d released.
“I was just sick. I was shocked. I was appalled. It was something that was just intolerable in every way,” Clinton began. “And, you know, like so many people who’ve come forward and spoken out, this was a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past.”
Asked if she had considered Weinstein a friend, she responded, “Yes, I probably would have – and so would so many others.”
“You know, people in Democratic politics for a couple of decades appreciated his help and support,” she elaborated. “And I think these stories coming to light now, and people who never spoke out before having the courage to speak out, just clearly demonstrates that this behavior that he engaged in, cannot be tolerated and cannot be overlooked.”
Zakaria, with unusual lack of clarity, said, “People say people knew.” He did not explain who “people” are.
I’m not “people,” Clinton shot back – or words to that effect:
“Well, I certainly didn’t! And I don’t know who did. But I can only speak for myself, and I think speak for many others who knew him primarily through politics,” she said.
“But the courage of these women coming forward now is really important because it can’t just end with one person’s disgraceful behavior and the consequences that he is now facing. This has to be a wake-up call and shine a bright spotlight on anything like this behavior anywhere, at any time.
“We’ve had a series of revelations about companies in Silicon Valley — you know, just sexual harassment and sexual assault being, you know, kind of accepted. That’s the cutting edge of our economy. … This can’t be tolerated anywhere, whether it’s entertainment or tech or anywhere.”