If you want to know how President Trump won in 2016, look no further than the Democratic strategists who are scrambling this week to explain why they helped accused sexual predator Mark Halperin write his new book.
Halperin has resurfaced from seclusion to author yet another one of his supposed “insider” looks at Washington politics, this time with the none-too-subtle headline, “How to Beat Trump: America’s Top Political Strategists on What It Will Take.”
In writing the book, the disgraced political pundit collaborated with 75 Democratic strategists and powerbrokers, including former Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazile, former Obama campaign guru David Axelrod, MSNBC contributor and former senior Hillary Clinton advisor Adrienne Elrod, SKDKnickerbocker managing director Anita Dunn, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and Clinton’s 2016 national political director Amanda Renteria.
Halperin’s book, which is being published by Regan Arts, is his first major undertaking since nearly a dozen women alleged in 2017 that he had degraded and forced himself on them when they worked with him in different newsrooms.
One woman alleged Halperin masturbated in front of her when they were colleagues at ABC News in the late 1990s. A second woman alleges she met with him during that same time period to discuss career opportunities. At the end of their meeting, she said, “He put both hands on my arms and threw me against the window of the restaurant hard. So my head banged against the window hard, in a way I thought people inside were going to think something terrible had happened to me.” There are additional accusations of unwanted kissing and groping. Some of the accusers claim Halperin ” [pressed] an erection against their bodies while he was clothed,” some claim he “propositioned” them, and one woman even alleges he put “his penis, on my shoulder.”
Yet, despite these many allegations, 75 Democrats apparently had little to no reservations whatsoever about helping Halperin write his new book. That is, many had no reservations until the public found out this weekend about their complicity in the disgraced pundit’s attempts to rehabilitate his once-lucrative career. At that moment, many of the same strategists who collaborated on the book realized they had miscalculated. They are now hilariously scrambling to disown it.
“Spoke with [Halperin] by phone once a few months ago about how to defeat Trump in the Midwest,” Granholm tweeted Sunday. “Did not mean to hurt anyone, ever; should have done more research. My sincere apologies.”
A spokesperson for Dunn, whose firm does work for the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment, told CNN, “Anita cares about beating Donald Trump, that is the only reason she participated.”
“I’m not the author,” Brazile also said in response to inquiries from CNN. “Ask Mark why he chose us.”
She added in a separate statement to the Daily Beast, “After a lot of emails, tough times for sure, I wanted to go on the record with my answers about how to defeat Trump. Many of my friends today are disappointed that I answered Mark’s call, but I did so after he understood where I was coming from.”
Renteria told the Daily Beast, “As my record shows, I have no sympathy for people with a history of sexual harassment in the workplace and I’m not interested in rehabilitating anyone’s career. At the same time, women and people of color are worse off when our voices and experiences are left out of campaign histories like this.”
Elrod, for her part, told the same newsroom that her “singular professional focus is defeating Donald Trump in 2020.” However, she added, “if I had to do it again I would have been more thoughtful and respectful to the women who have been affected.”
Axelrod tweeted, “By answering Halperin’s questions, I did not in any way mean to excuse his past, egregious behavior and, in retrospect, I regret responding at all.”
As it turns out, assisting in the rehabilitation efforts of a man who stands accused of sexually assaulting at least a dozen female colleagues is a bad look, even if it is in the name of defeating Trump.
You would think so-called strategists would not need to be told this. But then, it took a lot of talent and effort to lose to Donald Trump.