Bonjean: Politicians accused of misconduct keep quiet and hope everyone forgets. It rarely works.

November 22, 2017
The Washington Post

“Sen. Al Franken crisis strategy: hide out in DC for Thanksgiving, hoping this blows over and people quickly forget. Better to hold a Minnesota news conference before Turkey Day and apologize to voters who elected you,” Ron Bonjean, a Republican crisis communications expert, tweeted Sunday.

Bonjean has experienced these matters firsthand. Fifteen years ago, he served as a top adviser to Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who was poised to reclaim the post of Senate majority leader after the GOP’s successful 2002 midterms. But about a month later, Lott made a racially insensitive joke at a celebration of Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday, leading to a reevaluation of Lott’s previous statements on civil rights.

Bonjean believes the old rules still apply, particularly in the prevailing charged environment in which allegations of sexual misconduct by powerful men are roiling industries from Hollywood to Washington.

“What Franken, Conyers and Moore are underestimating is the anger of female voters out there. It’s not going away for these guys,” Bonjean said in an interview. “Better to deliver your message on your own terms.”

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