Hillary Clinton this weekend finally delivered the rip-roaring, fight-filled, impassioned speech Democrats have been waiting to see.
In April, Hillary Clinton announced she was running for President by unveiling a well-crafted video and campaign website. Two months later, she delivered a strategic and well-drafted speech in New York City, explaining why she was running. Since then, thanks in part to the mainstream media’s obsession with Donald Trump, and thanks in part to her decision to not deliver many public speechesÂ â€“ unlike her chief rival, Bernie SandersÂ â€“ Clinton has been labeled as passionless, cold, not engaged, and criticized for having trouble connecting to voters.
All those critiques are fair, and her campaign owns a good portion of the blame. They’ve been slow to respond to attacks, and either they’re not telling her what’s going on, or they’re not seeing it, or she’s not listening. Regardless, her poll numbers reflect the public’s frustration with her.
In the past few weeks the campaign decided to show off the more “human” sides of ClintonÂ â€“ they exist, and were on full display when she was Secretary of State. They have been flooding her Twitter feed with videos of her dancing, mocking Donald Trump with Jimmy Fallon, and retweeting positive comments about her Snapchat account.
But on Saturday at the 2015 New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention, Hillary Clinton decided to become the candidate her supporters, and all Democrats, have been waiting to see.
She delivered a speech that recognized the very real issues progressives have been fighting to fix, offered solutions, and laid out a platform few Democrats could oppose.
And she did it brilliantly, but â€“Â given the current state of the pollsÂ â€“ perhaps most importantly, did it with passion, integrity, believability, and fire. Not to mention a few well-chosen and targeted punches at her GOP rivals.
After watching a repeat on C-SPAN yesterday, I (forgive my language, it’s rare I swear in public!) sent out this tweet:
â€” David Badash (@davidbadash) September 19, 2015
I recognize that asking anyone to sit through a 40+ minute speech (video above) is asking a lot, but you owe it to yourself, your friends, your family and its future, and the issues you are fighting for to invest as many minutes as you can, even if you just play it in the background.
If you can’t, here’s a clip:
â€” Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 20, 2015
To be clear, this is not a personal or professional endorsement of Hillary Clinton, nor, as the publisher ofÂ The New Civil Rights Movement have I evenÂ decidedÂ if we will endorse any candidate during the primaries. This is simply a news story identifying the fact that, as the title says, Hillary Clinton has decided to get in the game.
And that alone is newsworthy.
For those who prefer reading, I reached out to the Clinton campaign for a transcript of her remarks, which I’ve copied below:
HILLARY CLINTON: Â (Cheering and applause.) Â Thank you.Â Thank you, New Hampshire Democrats.Â Thank you all.Â Whoa, thank you so much.Â Thank you all.Â Thank you.Â Oh, thank you.Â Thank you.Â Are we going to win this election in 2016? Â (Cheers and applause.) Â Yes, we are.Â Thank you.Â My heart is just racing.
I am so, so excited to be here, grateful for everything you and this state have meant to me and to my family.Â Iâ€™m honored to have the support of so many proud New Hampshire Democrats and â€“ (cheers and applause) â€“ especially, especially your terrific governor â€“ (cheers and applause) â€“ your amazing senator who used to be governor. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â Maggie and Jeanne are women who know how to solve problems and they bring common sense and common purpose to everything they do.Â
I also want to thank Congresswoman Annie Kuster, all the state senators and representatives, executive councilors, local leader, grassroots organizers, and especially volunteers who are working their hearts out for this campaign. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â I have a great idea.Â I think we should just transport all of you everywhere we go around the country together. Â (Cheers and applause.)Â
As much fun as this is, as exciting as the atmosphere in here is, we have work to do as Democrats.Â I want to be your partner to build our party here in this state and across our nation to keep our progress going.Â
Weâ€™ve come a long way, havenâ€™t we, these past six and a half years?Â And thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the American people and to the leadership of the Democratic President in the White House, Barack Obama â€“ (cheers and applause) â€“ weâ€™re standing again but weâ€™re not yet running the way America should.Â Wages still arenâ€™t rising for most people.Â The cost of everything from college to prescription drugs keeps going up.Â Inequality is still too big a problem.Â And in America, if you work hard and you do your part, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead.Â That is the basic bargain of this country. Â (Cheers and applause.)Â
Thatâ€™s the promise that my grandfather believed in when he went to work every day in the Scranton Lace Mills.Â Iâ€™m the granddaughter of a factory worker who believed in America and that life could be better for his children, and it was.Â His three sons went to college.Â My dad, after serving in the Navy in World War II, he started a small business.Â He saved and he sacrificed because he believed his small business, printing fabric in Chicago, could provide us with a middle-class life.Â And you know what?Â It did.Â And now within three generations, from that factory worker to that small business owner, Iâ€™m standing here asking for your support to be president of this great country that we love. Â (Cheers and applause.)Â
And so that is what we are fighting for as Democrats.Â We are fighting to make sure that dream, that promise, is just as vital and realÂ tomorrowÂ and the years later as it was for my grandfather and my father.
When my husband put people first â€“ (cheers and applause) â€“ in the 1992 campaign, where New Hampshire was so supportive, when he got into the White House he realized that he had inherited real economic problems from his Republican predecessors.Â That seems to happen, have you noticed? Â (Laughter.) Â I say this without trying to be partisan or personal, but the economy just works better when we have a Democrat in the White House. Â (Cheers and applause.)Â
And so after eight years of hard work, a lot of political heavy lifting, the end of Billâ€™s second term, there was a really important set of statistics that represented the progress we made: 23 million new jobs, a balanced budget.Â But you know what was most important to me?Â For the first time in decades, everybody benefited â€“ not just those at the top, but people in the middle, people at the bottom.Â Everybody saw their incomes go up. Â (Cheers and applause.)Â
I went to the Senate â€“ the good people of New York sent me to the Senate in 2001, and I was excited because I thought, look at what weâ€™ve accomplished: we have turned around the economy; we have taken control over our fiscal future.Â Just think of what we could have done with that balanced budget and a surplus.Â We could have made Social Security solvent for as far as the eye could see. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â We could have invested in education and science and research to make us smarter and stronger and richer. Â (Cheers and applause.)
But you know what happened.Â The Republicans went back to trickle-down economics, one of the worst ideas ever to come out of the 1980s right along with big hair. Â (Laughter.) Â They took their eyes off the financial markets, took their eyes off the mortgage markets, and President Obama inherited an even bigger mess.Â I remember when he called me right after the election, asked me to come see him in Chicago.Â I didnâ€™t know why at the time.Â Turned out he wanted to ask me to be Secretary of State, but when I got there â€“ (cheers and applause) â€“ when I got there, what he wanted to talk about was how dangerous the economic situation was.Â He said itâ€™s so much worse than they told us.Â He was worried about a great depression, not just a great recession.Â And he had to really work hard.
Under his leadership and thanks to the sacrifice of so many Americans, we pulled back from the brink of depression, saved the auto industry, curbed Wall Street abuses, and provided health care to 16 million people. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â Now, the only way that the Republicans can win is if they count on collective amnesia from the American people. Â (Laughter.) Â President Obama deserves a lot more credit than he gets for helping us avoid an economic catastrophe. Â (Applause.) Â And I know itâ€™s very inconvenient for our Republican friends, but the facts do speak for themselves: Â Economic growth is stronger under Democratic presidents, unemployment is lower, the stock market rises faster, businesses do better, and deficits are smaller. Â (Applause.) Â And one of my favorite inconvenient facts: Â Under Republicans, recessions happen four times as frequently as under Democrats. Â (Applause.)
So one would have to wonder, why would anybody who cares about the economy, which is all of us â€“ why would anybody who cares about seeing paychecks rise again, fighting inequality, raising the minimum wage, dealing with the challenges that confront us, believe that going back to the failed policies of trickle-down economics would help anybody except for those people at the top?Â
I am not running for my husbandâ€™s third term or President Obamaâ€™s third term.Â Iâ€™m running for my first term â€“ (cheers and applause) â€“ and I will proudly carry forward this record of Democratic achievement.Â We know what works and what doesnâ€™t.Â It works when middle-class families get a raise.Â That will be my mission from my first day as president to the last.Â We need growth that is strong, fair, and long-term so the rewards of success donâ€™t just go to those at the top.
When a company does well, shareholders and executives arenâ€™t the only ones who should benefit.Â The people who work at that company should as well. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â The people who actually produce the profits should share in them.Â If it can work for Market Basket across New England, it can work across America. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â But hereâ€™s what doesnâ€™t work: Â When 25 hedge fund managers earn more each year than all the kindergarten teachers in America combined.Â Thereâ€™s a tax loophole that lets them treat their pay like investment gains â€“ youâ€™ve heard of it, the carried interest loophole â€“ rather than normal income like everyone else.Â I have called for the ending of that loophole since 2007.Â I am sick of multimillionaires â€“ (applause) â€“ paying a lower tax rate than a teacher or a nurse.Â That is wrong.Â Iâ€™ll close that loophole â€“ (applause) â€“ and I will reform our tax code so everyone pays their fair share, particularly those who have the most benefits.
I have proposed incentives to encourage long-term investments in small businesses, hard-hit communities, and building our country â€“ not the quick speculation and trading that goes on.Â I want to see tax credits that will encourage apprentices and profit sharing.Â I want young people brought into our economy again so that they have a chance to have a better future. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â
Iâ€™ll raise the minimum wage so no one who works hard in America has to live in poverty.Â Iâ€™ll fight for small businesses that create the jobs in America. Â (Cheers and applause.)
Weâ€™re a small business country.Â I want to be the small business president.Â I donâ€™t think we should be tilting our tax code, our economic policy, toward big businesses that can hire lawyers and lobbyists.Â Most jobs in America come from small businesses.Â Thatâ€™s why I have a plan to make it easier for entrepreneurs to get loans and avoid red tape.Â Iâ€™ll hold corporations accountable when they gouge Americans on drug prices or pollute our environment or bust unions and exploit workers. Â (Cheers and applause.)
And thatâ€™s just the beginning.Â Weâ€™re going to do what works, because as important as economic worries are â€“ and I hear them everywhere â€“ theyâ€™re not the only ones that families face today, are they?Â If you get out there and you actually listen to people, as Iâ€™ve done all over New Hampshire, you hear about problems that rarely make the headlines but that keep families up at night.Â Iâ€™ve listened to those stories.Â Iâ€™ve heard about the heartaches and the hopes.Â It really has motivated me to roll up my sleeves to come up with solutions that can help make a difference in the lives of families here and everywhere across our country.
For example, I never expected that substance abuse and mental health would be major issues in my campaign until I came to Keene on my very first trip.Â And then I started listening.Â I heard story after story about heroin, pills, meth, alcohol, other addictions.Â I met a grandmother whoâ€™s taking responsibility for raising her grandchild because her daughter is struggling with addiction.Â She canâ€™t be the parent she should be.Â Iâ€™ve sat and listened to moms and dads whoâ€™ve lost their children, counselors and doctors and police officers whoâ€™ve done everything they can to help save people.Â One man in Laconia said to me the other day, â€œI donâ€™t want to go to more funerals.â€
When you hear those stories, itâ€™s hard not only to be moved and sad, but itâ€™s also motivating.Â At my first town hall about this issue in Keene, hundreds and hundreds of people packed in to the gymnasium and they told their stories.Â And then in Laconia just a few day ago, we heard about solutions.Â Iâ€™ve got a plan to do something about this epidemic: more and better treatment and prevention, especially for young people; making sure everyone who writes prescriptions is trained in addition; putting rescue drugs like naloxone in the hands of first responders; criminal justice reform so nonviolent drug users get time to heal instead of time in jail. Â (Cheers and applause.)
There are so many stories that people share with me.Â Thatâ€™s what drives my campaign.Â Thatâ€™s what gets me up every day.Â Often Iâ€™m asked, â€œHow can you do this?â€ Â Well, it is challenging. Â (Laughter.) Â Itâ€™s also incredibly rewarding because I meet people who are so resilient, so filled with purpose and hope.Â I want to be the president who takes on the big challenges.Â Look, we have to worry about how we make sure Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.Â We have to deal with the refugee crisis in Europe and so much else.Â
But I also want to be the president who keeps listening, who hears about the challenges you talk about around your kitchen table, like student debt. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â A student here in New Hampshire â€“ a student really summed it up for me, saying that paying for college shouldnâ€™t be the hardest thing about going to college.Â And yesterday, Governor Hassan and I were at the University of New Hampshire, where we were talking about my plan, and where we heard from two students who very clearly and emotionally talked about what their challenges were trying to get the education theyâ€™ve always dreamed of.
I call my plan the New College Compact.Â As president, I will make sure families can afford to send your kids to college.Â Everyone with student debt can refinance that debt just like a mortgage or a car loan. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â Cost wonâ€™t be a barrier anymore and debt wonâ€™t hold anyone back.
I also have to say that Iâ€™ve heard a lot about another challenge that gets too little attention in our long-term looking forward into the future about what kind of country weâ€™re going to be and how we can help people live up to their potential, and that is the caregiving crisis in America. Â (Applause.) Â I met a woman in Dover whoâ€™s caring for her husband with Alzheimerâ€™s and her mother with Alzheimerâ€™s.Â I just met a young man backstage whoâ€™s had to go to part-time work to take care of his mother with Alzheimerâ€™s.Â People donâ€™t know where to turn.Â They donâ€™t know where to get help.
As a senator, I passed a law giving family caregivers more support, and as president I will make this a national priority for families, number one. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â Every one of us knows somebody who could benefit: the veterans, who deserve better care; the parents of children with autism who need help and solutions; families who canâ€™t find facilities to provide mental health treatment for their loved ones no matter how hard they try. Â (Cheers and applause.)
It was summed up for me by the single mom whoâ€™s juggling a job and courses at a community college while raising three kids alone.Â She said, â€œLook, I donâ€™t expect anything to come easy,â€ but she asked me, â€œIsnâ€™t there anything we can do so it isnâ€™t quite so hard?â€ Â These are all challenges leaders should care about.Â Problems that donâ€™t get nearly enough attention on the campaign trail or in Washington.Â
Well, Iâ€™m not only paying attention; as president, we will get results together.Â Because if you want a president â€“ if you want a president who will tell you everything thatâ€™s wrong with America and whoâ€™s to blame for it, youâ€™ve got plenty of other choices. Â (Cheers and applause.) And my goodness, didnâ€™t we hear enough of that the other night at the Republican debate?Â But if you want a president who will listen to you, work her heart out to make your life better and together to build a stronger, fairer, better country, then youâ€™re looking at her. Â (Cheers and applause.)
Because you know â€“ you know, folks, this election ultimately is about finding a leader with a vision for the future broad enough to encompass this great country of ours and the skill and determination to lead us there.Â Someone who can defend and build on the progress weâ€™ve made, not let it slip away or get ripped away.Â I will stand up to all the attacks from the super PACs and the Koch brothers every chance I get.Â And I will do what I have always done to try to overcome the dysfunction in Washington, actually to get things done like I did when I was First Lady and we didnâ€™t get healthcare that time, and then I turned around and I worked with Ted Kennedy to get the Childrenâ€™s Health Insurance Program to take care of more than 8 million kids. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â Or when I was in the Senate and I realized that our National Guard didnâ€™t have the same access to health care and I teamed up with Lindsey Graham and we passed it, so now every single one of our National Guards has that same option that they should have had before. Â (Cheers and applause.)Â
I have been fighting my whole life to even the odds for people who have those odds stacked against them.Â Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m going to keep doing â€“ fighting for families, fighting for fairness, fighting for you.Â And Iâ€™ve learned that through a lot of experiences, but I really learned it first from my own mother â€“ abandoned and mistreated by her family, she was out on her own at 14 working as a housemaid.Â She channeled her hardships into a deep commitment to serving and respecting others.Â Sheâ€™s been my touchstone, guiding me through my life of service.Â My first job out of law school wasnâ€™t at some big New York law firm; it was with the Childrenâ€™s Defense Fund standing up for kids who needed a fighter. Â (Cheers and applause.)
Every step along the way, Iâ€™ve stood up for women, for children, for families, for underdogs â€“ everyone who needs a champion, and Iâ€™m just getting warmed up. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â I believe in America, but I believe in America, we should have each otherâ€™s backs. Â (Applause.) Â We should lift each other up, not tear each other down. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â And that is especially true when it comes to lifting up women who deserve equal pay for equal work. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â And that means too every family deserves access to quality, affordable childcare so they can actually go to work. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â Every American should have access to paid family leave so you donâ€™t have to choose between a paycheck and taking care of your baby or your mom or your dad. Â (Applause.)
Iâ€™m a proud Democrat because weâ€™re the ones who stand up and say the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â We have come too far, we have fought too hard, to let anyone take it away.Â Weâ€™re the ones also who understand we have to make Social Security even stronger, and especially for widowed, divorced, and single women who are the poorest older people in America. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â Weâ€™re the ones who support teachers, not scapegoat them. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â Who will invest in universal prekindergarten and early childhood education so all of our kids get the best possible start. Â (Cheers and applause.)
It is past time for us to get over the toxic debates about education that have paralyzed us for too long.Â Letâ€™s focus on what actually works to help teachers teach and children learn. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â As president, Iâ€™m going to actually listen to teachers and learn what they know from being in those classrooms every single day. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â I will fight for strong public schools in every ZIP code and community across America. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â And I am honored, I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the NEA right here in New Hampshire. Â (Cheers and applause.)
And Democrats believe we donâ€™t have to choose between protecting our environment, combating climate change and growing our economy.Â We can do that by embracing clean, renewable energy. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â I want us to set big goals in this country again.Â I can remember â€“ I think thereâ€™s a few of you who also can remember â€“ when President Kennedy challenged us to send a moon mission that would land a man on the moon and bring him back within a decade.Â And a lot of people thought that was impossible, didnâ€™t they?Â Nobody knew what would happen.Â I was sure because the president set that goal that America could get it done, and we did.Â
Thatâ€™s the kind of president I want to be.Â I want to challenge us again, particularly young people again. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â So by the end of my first term, we will have installed a half a billion more solar panels â€“ (cheers and applause) â€“ and by the end of my second, we will produce enough renewable energy to power every home in America.Â We can do this. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â We can take on climate change â€“ not deny it, but take it on, and at the same time create millions of new jobs and businesses that will make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. Â (Cheers and applause.)
And boy, Democrats believe â€“ and weâ€™re the only ones left who believe this â€“ (laughter) â€“ we have to stop the flow of secret, unaccountable money that distorts our elections and drowns out the voices of American voters. Â (Applause.) Â Itâ€™s predicted by some that our next president may have as many as three appointments to the Supreme Court. Â (Applause.) Â Now, if you werenâ€™t convinced to vote for a Democrat before, I hope you are now. Â (Applause.) Â I will appoint justices who will protect every citizenâ€™s right to vote instead of every corporationâ€™s right to buy elections. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â And if necessary, I will work to pass a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Courtâ€™s decision in Citizens United.Â
And we Democrats believe that no matter who you are, what you look like, what faith you practice, or who you love, America has a place for you, and you should have the same opportunity as anyone else to live up to your potential. Â (Cheers and applause.)
So we have a great agenda.Â We know what it means to be a Democrat.Â Weâ€™re going to fight back against those who will do, say, and spend whatever it takes to turn our country in a very different direction.
Who watched the Republican debates the other night?Â Oh, you gluttons for punishment, you. Â (Laughter.) Â Fifteen candidates, five hours, not a single fighter for the middle class.Â And the fact-checkers are having a field day with their answers.Â The Republicansâ€™ positions are not just factually inaccurate, they are deeply out of touch and out of date.Â Not one of them offered a credible plan to make college more affordable, or combat climate change.Â Did you hear anything about family leave or preschool?Â Or what about putting an end to the gun violence that plagues our communities every single day? Â (Cheers and applause.)
Not one of them â€“ not one of them is willing to say loudly and clearly: black lives matter. Â (Cheers and applause.)
And of course, no solutions for skyrocketing prescription drug costs.Â No ideas about how to raise incomes.Â No ideas at all, when you stop to think about it.
But there was one statement I had to agree with.Â Yeah.Â Hard to believe, right?Â As Lindsey Graham said, â€œHillary Clinton has list a mile long to help the middle class.â€ Â (Cheers and applause.) Â Well, heâ€™s right about that.Â Heâ€™s absolutely right about that; I do.Â It was the most honest thing anyone said that night.Â And Iâ€™m going to keep adding to that list, keep fighting for the middle class, keep showing that voters have a real choice in this election
Donâ€™t be distracted by their flamboyant front-runner, trying to bully and buy his way into the presidency.Â His latest outrage â€“ the way he handled the question about President Obama â€“ was shocking but not surprising.Â Heâ€™s been trafficking in prejudice and paranoia throughout this campaign. Â (Cheers and applause.)
But I got to tell you, if you look at the policies of the other Republican candidates, they are just Trump without the pizazz or the hair. Â (Laughter.) Â He says hateful things about immigrants.Â They donâ€™t support a real path to citizenship.Â We need comprehensive reform, not demagoguery and deportations. Â (Cheers and applause.)
And we have heard Mr. Trump insult and demean women.Â And by the way, Donald, when you say you cherish women, that really doesnâ€™t make it better.Â Why donâ€™t you stop cherishing women and start respecting women? Â (Cheers and applause.)
But listen closely â€“ listen closely, heâ€™s not the only one.Â All of the Republican candidates want to defund Planned Parenthood.Â Many are willing to shut down our government to do it, no matter the consequences for our country.Â We are talking about a womenâ€™s health service that provides half a million breast cancer exams every year.Â Thatâ€™s what they want to stop.
Here in New Hampshire, you know about this.Â Last month, your executive council cut off funding to Planned Parenthood in this state.Â Well, actually, three men on the executive council voted to deny women access to healthcare across New Hampshire.
Iâ€™d like them, along with the Republican candidates, to meet the mom who caught her cancer early thanks to a screening, or the teenager who avoided an unintended pregnancy because she had access to birth control, or the survivor of sexual assault who got emergency contraception. Â (Cheers and applause.)
These extreme views might be right for a Republican primary, but they are dead wrong for America.Â And now, I know that when I talk like this, some of the Republicans say Iâ€™m playing the gender card.Â Well, if calling for equal pay and paid leave and womenâ€™s health is playing the gender card, deal me in. Â (Cheers and applause.)
I am going to keep fighting.Â Iâ€™m going to fight until every woman has the rights, the opportunities, and the respect she deserves, until every little girl in America knows without a doubt she can grow up to be anything she wants â€“ even president of the United States. Â (Cheers and applause.)Â
So, my friends, letâ€™s go out and wage this campaign and elect Democrats at every level.Â Letâ€™s take back school boards.Â Letâ€™s take back the legislatures.Â Letâ€™s take back every position, all the way to the White House.Â Because if this election is about Americaâ€™s future, not Americaâ€™s fear, Democrats will win. Â (Cheers and applause.) Â And when you hear Mr. Trump saying he wants to make America great again, respond: America is great â€“ we just need to make it work for all the people in our country again. Â (Cheers and applause.)Â
So I think weâ€™re going to have a great campaign.Â Itâ€™s going to be fun.Â Because what makes the other folks uncomfortable is what makes America what we are today â€“ our diversity, our ingenuity, our innovation, the signs of American dynamism, our immigrant culture â€“ all that we do to really build a country where everybody has a place, where there are no limits on what we can achieve when we put our common interest ahead of our self-interest, and our common sense ahead of nonsense.Â
I am fighting for that America.Â Iâ€™m fighting for all Americans, not just some â€“ for the struggling, the striving, and the successful.Â Iâ€™m fighting for everyone whoâ€™s ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out.Â I am fighting for you, Democrats, and New Hampshire, and America.Â Letâ€™s go out and make the future we want to see.
Thank you all and God bless you. Â (Cheers and applause.)
Image: Screenshot via C-SPAN
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‘Volunteer’ Santos Congressional Staffer Alleges Sexual Harassment: ‘Proceeded to Touch My Groin’
A man who says he was hired by U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) as a congressional staffer, told he had to be listed as a “volunteer” until his paperwork was processed, then subsequently told his job offer had been “rescinded” nine days later despite having worked several days during that time, is now accusing the embattled New York GOP congressman of ethics violations and sexual harassment. He is calling for both a congressional and a police investigation.
In a two-page letter to the House Ethics Committee dated Friday requesting an investigation, Derek Myers alleges Rep. Santos invited him to a karaoke club on his second day of work, then “proceeded to take his hand and move it down my leg into my inner-thigh and proceeded to touch my groin.”
He says Santos then told him, “My husband is out of town tonight if you want to come over” and told him where he lived.
Myers is also asking the congressional investigation examine his being told he had to work as an unpaid volunteer while being offered a full-time job, which he says is a violation of House ethics.
He says he has filed a police report.
These matters will not be litigated on social media or through news media. They are serious offenses and the evidence and facts will speak for themselves if the committee takes up the matter. This tweet is being made public in light of transparency. pic.twitter.com/oSs4F3xyqc
— Derek Myers (@DerekMyers) February 3, 2023
In his letter (above) which he posted to Twitter, Myers says was interviewed by Santos, offered the job on Monday, January 23, asked by Santos’ chief of staff to come into the office the following day.
“On Wednesday. January 25, I was alone with the Congressman in his personal office going over mail correspondence from constituents and making my recommendations for which letters we should respond,” Myers’ letter reads. “The Congressman earlier in the day had asked me if I had a Grindr profile, which is widely-known as an LGBTQ+ social networking app, more commonly used for sexual intercourse. The Congressman shared with me that he, himself had a profile.”
Myers says Santos called him “buddy” and “insisted I sit next to him on a small sofa.”
“I proceeded to move forward with the discussion about the mail, but the Congressman stopped me by placing his hand on my left leg, near my knee and saying, ‘Hey buddy, we’re going to karaoke tonight. Would you like to go?’ I kindly declined the invitation by telling the Congressman I was not a fan of clubs and bars and that I was not a good singer,” the complaint reads.
“The Congressman proceeded to take his hand and move it down my leg into my inner-thigh and proceeded to touch my groin. He proceeded to look at me and say, ‘My husband is out of town tonight if you want to come over’ and went on to tell me where the Congressman lived. I quickly pushed the Congressman’s hand away and grabbed the mail from the table and proceeded to discuss the topic of constituent correspondence. Shortly thereafter, I left the personal office and returned to my desk.”
He alleges the following Monday, one week after being made the offer of employment, he was asked about his background as a journalist. He says on Wednesday, February 1, “I was informed that my job offer was being rescinded.”
The New York Times reports, “Mr. Myers’s account could not be corroborated, but a spokeswoman for Representative Susan Wild, ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, acknowledged that his letter had been received by her office.”
“There’s no corroborating evidence whatsoever,” Myers told CNN. “It’s simply going to be his word against mine.”
Santos is currently facing at least three federal investigations, including for allegedly absconding with thousands of dollars raised to save a veteran’s dying service dog, and for campaign finance issues.
Myers was in the news last week after sharing what he says were conversations with Santos he recorded. Talking Points Memo published some of that audio and reported some of Santos’ statements to Myers, including, “Stop going to Colombia for your diluted Botox.”
Santos claimed the recordings “violated the trust that we had” in Myers.
TPM also reported on Myers’ background, which Santos allegedly used to terminate him.
“A local news reporter from Ohio, Myers faced unusual criminal charges last year after he published surreptitiously recorded audio of courtroom testimony that he said he obtained from a source. The criminal case, which is in limbo, sparked a national outcry from press freedom organizations who rushed to his defense,” TPM says.
“It was quite a mesmerizing feeling to be in that proximity to power,” Myers told TPM. “Not only was I working with a sitting congressman, but I would see all these other U.S. senators and congressmen and women who I would only see on the news walking through the basement.”
He also told the news outlet of the “dream that drew Myers to Santos: a potential book or Hollywood project.”
“George Santos is making history,” Myers told TPM. “There’s gonna be a book about it. There’s gonna be a movie about it.”
ABC Host Pops Marco Rubio’s Balloon Rant: It ‘Happened Three Times’ Under Trump
ABC host Jonathan Karl reminded Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) that former President Donald Trump had failed to notify Americans on at least three occasions when Chinese balloons entered the country’s airspace.
During an interview on ABC, Karl asked Rubio if President Joe Biden should have gone against the advice of the U.S. military and instead shot the balloon down over populated land.
Rubio agreed that the debris could have “hurt, harmed or killed people.”
“If that was the case, then I think it really would have been helpful for the president of the United States to get on national television and explain to the American people, this is what we’re dealing with, this is what I’m going to do about it, and this is why I haven’t done it yet. None of that happened. And I don’t know why. I don’t know why they waited so long to tell people about this.”
But Karl pointed out that Trump had failed to disclose similar incidents at least three times.
“This happened three times under the previous president,” the host said. “Obviously, there were no public notifications there.”
Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed
Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.
“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.
Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.
Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.
Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.
A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.
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