Sen. Marco Rubio announced late Saturday that he had decided to fire his chief of staff, Clint Reed, over “allegations of improper conduct” regarding “relations between a supervisor and their subordinates.”
In a statement, Rubio said, “Yesterday [Friday] afternoon, I was made aware, for the first time, of allegations of improper conduct by my Chief of Staff while under the employment of my office. These allegations were reported directly to me instead of our General Counsel or the Congressional Office of Compliance. Immediately upon receiving this complaint, I along with our General Counsel, began an investigation of this matter.”
Without divulging specific details of what happened, citing “the wishes of those victimized by this conduct” (which indicates there are more than one), the statement said Reed, who managed Rubio’s 2016 re–election campaign and became chief of staff a year ago, “had violated office policies regarding proper relations between a supervisor and their subordinates.”
“I further concluded that this led to actions which in my judgement amounted to threats to withhold employment benefits,” the senator’s statement added.
Rubio said he traveled from Florida to Washington, DC, on Saturday night to fire Reed, a native Arkansan, former regional political director of the Republican National Committee, and executive director of the Arkansas Republican Party, according to USA Today.
If accurate, Rubio’s description of the swiftness with which the accusations were addressed is notable. RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel drew harsh criticism on Saturday after she released a tepid statement announcing the resignation of billionaire Steve Wynn as the RNC’s finance chair.
Wynn, a Las Vegas casino mogul and friend of President Donald Trump, stepped down after a damning Wall Street Journal report accused him of sexually harassing casino employees for several decades, including forcing some of them to have sex with him.
McDaniel’s statement on the scandal contained all of 12 words, none of which offered a reason for Wynn’s resignation or a condemnation of his alleged sexually predatory behavior. Democrats’ anger was particularly acute given the Republicans’ response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal last fall, which included calls for Democrats to return all of the money Weinstein had donated to the party and its candidates over the years.
“Today I accepted Steve Wynn’s resignation as Republican National Committee Finance Chair,” was all that McDaniel said.
Former RNC spokesman Doug Heye called McDaniel’s statement “the very definition of ‘weak sauce.’”
“I was tougher on the committee when the finance dept had a dumb PowerPoint comparing Harry Reid to Scooby-Doo,” he added in a tweet on Saturday. “A female chair can’t say ‘The RNC stands with women’?! No doubt the comms shop got rolled.”
However, McDaniel has been tougher with her statements, just not when they’re about Republicans. Here’s what she said last October about Weinstein and the Democrats:
“During three-decades worth of sexual harassment allegations, Harvey Weinstein lined the pockets of Democrats to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars. If Democrats and the DNC truly stand up for women like they say they do, then returning this dirty money should be a no brainer.”
No wonder Rubio moved so quickly, whatever the nature of Reed’s “improper conduct.” The senator said his office would formally notify “the appropriate Congressional and Senate administrative offices” on Monday morning.