Marianne Williamson, who became the first Democratic challenger to President Biden to mount a 2024 presidential run earlier this month, pushed back on a Politico report that she was “abusive” to her staff during her 2020 candidacy, calling it “categorical lies.”
Williamson said in an interview on SiriusXM’s “The Briefing with Steve Scully” on Thursday that she is sorry if anyone she worked with during the 2020 presidential election felt she did not treat them with respect, but she is not being treated as a male candidate would.
“But there are categorical lies in that article. And you know, if the worst you have on me is that I can be tough at the office, then I think I should be OK in this campaign,” she said.
Williamson’s response came after Politico reported that 12 people who worked with Williamson said she could be emotionally and verbally abusive and showed behavior that went beyond the typical stress of a presidential campaign.
All 12 people interviewed said they remembered instances where Williamson yelled at staffers until they cried, while three former staffers said Williamson threw phones at her staff members. Two people said hotel staff felt the need to knock on her door to check on the situation at least four separate times because of the loudness of her outbursts.
Four staff members said Williamson once became angry enough about poor planning of a campaign trip to South Carolina that she hit a car door until her hand swelled and she needed to go to urgent care.
Williamson said in the SiriusXM interview that the accounts given by the 12 people were “their experience,” but men would need to take an action like committing sexual misconduct to be held accountable.
“And at the same time, Steve, come on, I feel that if a man is to be held accountable, he has to grab a woman’s breast. A woman has to refuse to say, or forget to say, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’ So, I’m sorry about any mistakes I made, but that’s a hit piece,” she said.
She said if she could see a recording of the instances being described, she might say “Wow, I’m really sorry” in some cases and “Yeah, somebody should have done their job” in others.
Williamson is likely a long-shot candidate compared to President Biden, who has not formally announced he is running for reelection but is widely expected to as soon as next month. Much of the establishment support has coalesced around Biden, and a poll showed Biden leading Williamson by more than 70 points.
Williamson, a spiritual adviser and author, ran in 2020 but needed to drop out before the first primaries as a result of lack of money.
She said the Democratic establishment does not want her to run and believes “everybody should just stand in line.”
“Somehow, they feel that the best way for us to fight a threat to democracy is to suppress democracy in our own house,” Williamson said. “So, like I said, hit pieces like that, whatever mistakes I’ve made, I’m sorry, but there’s slanderous lies in that, and I’ve never thrown a phone at anyone. I’ve never hit any anyone. It’s outrageous, actually. And I think a lot of people can see that.”