- By Anthony Churcher
- North American Correspondent
2024 Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has responded to allegations that she verbally and emotionally abused staff during her White House campaign four years ago.
Warning: This article contains language that some readers may find offensive
Ms Williamson spoke to the BBC’s Americast podcast on Thursday The Politico magazine article is called 12 Anonymous ex-employee reporting accounts as a “hit piece” and a “distraction technique”.
He also dismissed what one interviewee described as his episodes of “foaming, spitting, uncontrollable rage.”
“If I can sometimes be a beggar in the office, I don’t think anyone is happy about it, but I think anyone who studies mediocrity in politics can gauge that.”
“I’m not running for sainthood here,” she continued. “I’m running for president.”
In the Politico article, Ms. Williamson threw a phone at an assistant, criticized staff members’ physical appearance, and repeatedly slammed a car door to the point that her arm required medical attention.
In the article, he was quoted as saying that he never criticized anyone for their weight, and while he acknowledged the car door incident, he said he would never physically hurt a person.
During an Americast interview, the popular self-help and spiritual guru, who is in his third run for public office, called the phone accusation a “blatant lie.”
But he admits there could be room for personal growth.
“If I was a tough boss and I had some lessons to learn, I’d probably have done it openly and hopefully I’d learn them,” he said.
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Although the Politico story relied largely on anonymous sources, the magazine included parts of a 2019 resignation letter sent by its Iowa state director, Roger Becker, who criticized what he called his staff “degrading, abusive, inhumane and unacceptable.”
Additionally, Politico contacted former Congressman Paul Hodes, his former New Hampshire state director, who said Williamson’s behavior was “consistent” with what he saw and heard while working with her.
“Paul is trying to get back to some perch in the Democratic establishment,” Ms Williamson told Americast when asked for a response. “It’s pretty obvious to anyone inside, God bless, Paul Hodes.
“I hope he finds a way to find peace in his heart and rebuild his life in a way other than tearing someone else down.”
Ms. Williamson announced two weeks ago that she would seek the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination.
He is currently the only officially announced candidate, although US President Joe Biden is widely expected to launch his re-election campaign in the coming months.
Some Democratic voter preference polls have shown him a larger lead than Ms. Williamson.
While Ms. Williamson’s 2020 campaign centered on what she saw as a need for spiritual healing in America after Donald Trump became president, her 2024 campaign has a sharper, more populist slant.
Like Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, who finished second behind Mr Biden in 2020, Ms Williamson has denounced corporate and political elites, who she says profit at the expense of less fortunate Americans.
He supports universal government-run healthcare, free childcare and public education and at least $1tn (£825bn) in government slavery reparations for black Americans.
Ms. Williamson qualified for the first two Democratic presidential debates in 2019.
This year, however, the Democratic National Committee is unlikely to officially sanction the 2024 debates, depriving Ms. Williamson of the party’s highest platform for reaching voters.
- This week’s episode of the BBC’s Americast will soon be available wherever you get your podcasts.