Montana Governor Steve Bullock, who may run for president in 2020, admitted that his handling of the claims of sexual harassment against his former senior adviser Kevin O’Brien was “wrong and naive.”
O’Brien, the former acting chief of staff for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, was fired in the early months of 2018 following an inquiry into two allegations of sexual harassment. According to an earlier this week New York Times investigation, O’Brien was also let go from his position at the Democratic Governors Association in December 2015 due to similar allegations.
In 2015, Bullock presided over the DGA, while O’Brien represented him in Washington. The reasons for O’Brien’s termination were known to the governor.
Bullock stated in a lengthy Medium article that was released early on Saturday morning, “Four years ago I fell short in my responsibility preventing sexual harassment.” “I’m sorry, and I promise to do better in the future.”
The past few days have been spent speaking with family, friends, and coworkers. Should I have phoned Mayor de Blasio, I ask myself. Should I have made more of an announcement? Was I naive to believe it wouldn’t occur once more? Bullock asked.
“Yes, is the response. My naivete and error in believing I had done enough. I ought to have done more to make sure that his actions would be disclosed to potential employers. I am also aware that these insights are too late for the two New York City-based women. I apologize for it.
Bullock declined to comment about the event in an in-depth interview Friday at his office, saying that he would rather address it in a statement. O’Brien, a previously behavior-trusted advisor, oversaw Bullock’s successful 2012 bid for governor and worked as an assistant as early as 2009.
The sexually inappropriate behavior of former top aides has been brought up by several prospective presidential candidates for 2020. A former top aide to Sen. Kamala Harris and a former employee of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who claimed to have been assaulted by a senior staff member during the 2016 campaign was settled for $400,000 by the state of California.
Compared to many of the other probable presidential contenders vying to unseat Donald Trump in 2020, Bullock is less well-known. He has been dubbed a dark horse candidate by some national strategists who might shock voters in a year. But some of O’Brien’s allies are unsure about the future as a result of the accusations against him.
“I felt ill and depressed. Bullock stated, “I felt the sense that I hadn’t done enough. We all must speak up and uphold the law to create safe and just workplaces. Myself included.
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