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 SebeliusJerry Moran: 'I wouldn't be surprised' if Pompeo ran for Senate in Kansas Mark Halperin inks book deal 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care 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 Clinton2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Manafort sought to hurt Clinton 2016 campaign efforts in key states: NYT 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 ClintonGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris lead Trump in Georgia: Poll Keep your eye on essential facts in the unfolding impeachment circus 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 FrankenTake Trump literally and seriously in Minnesota Ninth woman accuses Al Franken of inappropriate contact Al Franken to host SiriusXM radio show 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.