Obama cabinet official: Clinton White House doubled down on 'abusive behavior'
© Greg Nash

The former secretary of Health and Human Services under President Obama took aim at former President Clinton's administration for its handling of sexual misconduct and abusive behavior.

Speaking to former Obama adviser David Axelrod on his podcast, Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusNext Kansas governor to reinstate LGBT protections for state workers Progressives set to test appeal of prairie populism in Kansas primary Overcoming health-care challenges by moving from volume to value MORE said Clinton-era officials looked the other way when sexual misconduct allegations were made and railed against the administration for doubling down on "abusive behavior."

"Not only did people look the other way, but they went after the women who came forward and accused him," Sebelius said. "And so it doubled down on not only bad behavior but abusive behavior. And then people attacked the victims."

Sebelius, a former governor of Kansas, hit Democrats for dismissing women who came forward with sexual harassment allegations against then-President Clinton. She said the pattern of Democrats' dismissal is prevalent today amid a recent slew of misconduct allegations against sitting lawmakers. 

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"You can watch that same pattern repeat. It needs to end. It needs to be over," she said. 

"It breaks my heart is to know that here we are 40 years later, and very much the same atmosphere prevails," she said. "And it's about power, it's never been about sex. It's all about power. And men who have power over women use that power in all kinds of ways."
 
Sebelius also criticized former first lady Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Mattis defends border deployment during visit to troops | Bolton aide exits WH after clash with first lady | House blocks Yemen war resolution | Report warns of erosion in US military superiority Exit polls show more women breaking with Republicans MORE for aiding in the strategy of dismissing allegations and criticizing women who came forward at the time of her husband's presidency. She said recent criticism of Clinton for her position on her husband's own sexual assault allegations is "absolutely" deserved. 

Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonGillibrand sidesteps question on possible Clinton 2020 run Despite a divided government, the next Congress will provide opportunities for cooperation Lewinsky: I contemplated suicide after Clinton affair became public MORE engaged in a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, who was 22 at the time, between 1995 and 1996. It was revealed in 1998.

He denied the inappropriate relationship, but later admitted it occurred, which lead to the Republican-controlled House voting to impeach him in 1998. He was later acquitted of the charges in the Senate and remained in office.

Others have come forward with assault and harassment allegations against Clinton in the past. 

Democrats have scrambled to take a position on the sexual assault allegations against Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Gillibrand sidesteps question on possible Clinton 2020 run Senate GOP beats expectations with expanded majority MORE (D-Minn.), after quickly condemning GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore for a string of similar accusations. 

Sebelius pointed to Franken's immediate public apology and request for the Senate Ethics Committee to open an investigation into the matter, but did not say whether the senator and former comedian should resign.