Former President Bill Clinton said in an interview that aired Monday that he would not handle the Monica Lewinsky scandal any differently today, even in light of the #MeToo movement, and that he never privately apologized to the former White House intern with whom he had a sexual relationship.
“If the facts were the same today, I wouldn’t,” Clinton told NBC News’ “Today” correspondent Craig Melvin when asked if he would have approached the accusations against him any differently today.
“I don’t think it would be an issue,” Clinton said. “Because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts. A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work.”
In an interview that turned testy, Clinton said that he had apologized “to everybody in the world” for the 20-year-old episode but acknowledged he had not spoken directly to Lewinsky about the affair.
“I’ve never talked to her,” Clinton said. “But I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.”
When asked whether he thought differently about his relationship with Lewinsky, then a White House intern, amid the ongoing reckoning with sexual abuse, Clinton demurred. “You have to really ignore what the context was,” Clinton said. “But, you know, she’s living in a different context. And she did it for different reasons. So I — but I just disagree with her.”
“No, I felt terrible then,” he said. “And I came to grips with it.”
Clinton said the relitigation of the affair that led to his impeachment was unfair and in part a result of frustration about the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct President Donald Trump faces.
Clinton also noted that there had been negative consequences for him related to the episode, which led to his impeachment by the House but acquittal by the Senate.
“Nobody believes that I got out of that for free,” he said. “I left the White House $16 million in debt.”
“I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution,” Clinton remarked.
Last November, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat with deep ties to the Clintons, said Clinton should have resigned over his affair with Lewinsky. No other prominent elected Democrats agreed with Gillibrand publicly, and some saw it as a politically strategic way for the potential future presidential candidate to distance herself from the couple.
After the interview, Megyn Kelly TODAY welcomed Amy Holmes of PBS’ “In Principle” and MSNBC analyst Zerlina Maxwell and discussed Craig Melvin’s interview with Clinton. Maxwell says Clinton “approached this interview in a defensive posture.”
“Why doesn’t NBC have me on to discuss the rape?” Juanita Broaddrick asked during an interview with Breitbart News. “Of course, they are the same network that held my 1999 interview until after the impeachment hearing.”
Broaddrick explained that Clinton’s interview “took away so much from the real victims over the years,” referring to the “victims against which he perpetrated the sexual assault and harassment and of course raping me.” Broaddrick also took to Twitter and certainly didn’t hold anything back.
Morning Joe‘s Mika Brzezinski remarked the Clinton’s never addressing and apologizing for Bill’s treatment of women and Hillary’s enabling it and ignoring the issue as she ran for the presidency is why we now have Pres. Trump.
Earlier this year, Lewinsky wrote in an essay that the #MeToo movement had caused her to reexamine her relationship with Clinton through a new lens, and she concluded that the affair constituted a “gross abuse of power” on Clinton’s part.
“He was my boss,” she wrote. “He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better. He was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career, while I was in my first job out of college.”
“I still have some questions about some of the decisions which have been made,” Clinton said.