Former President Bill Clinton has finally publicly apologized for the scandal which shook the nation during his administration: an alleged affair with then-intern Monica Lewinsky.
“I meant it then and I meant it now. I apologize to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family, and the American people,” Clinton said at the New York Public Library on Monday night, as Washington Examiner reports.
Ahead of his apology, Clinton participated in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show where he seemingly thought he could not be affected by the #MeToo movement. During the interview, the former president dismissed the idea of publicly apologizing to Lewinsky and said it was him who was more affected by the scandal.
Per Washington Examiner:
Clinton faced questions on Today regarding the #MeToo movement and whether he would have handled his scandal regarding Lewinsky better had it happened in 2018.
The former president was dismissive of the questions, claiming that this was something that happened and was handled years ago, also noting that he wasn’t victimless, as he left the White House $16 million in debt.
Clinton also said he didn’t owe Lewinsky a private apology.
During Clinton’s interview on NBC’s “Today” show, the former president was asked about his handling of the late 1990s scandal and if he thought he owed an apology to Lewinsky.
“No,” Clinton said without hesitation.
“I do not. I’ve never talked to her, but I did say on more than one occasion that I was sorry,” suggesting the apology was enough.
Then, as Daily Mail reports, Clinton portrayed himself, not Lewinsky, as the victim in the situation.
“Nobody believes I got out of that [scandal] for free,” Clinton continued. “I left the White House $16 million in debt, but you typically have ignored gaping facts in describing this, and I bet you don’t even know them.”
And, “This was litigated 20 years ago. Two-thirds of the American people sided with me. They were not insensitive to that. I had a sexual harassment policy when I was governor in the eighties. I had two women chiefs of staff when I was governor. Women were overrepresented in the attorney general’s office in the seventies, for their percentage in the bar. I have had nothing but women leaders in my office since I left. You are giving one side and omitting facts.”
Later in the interview, however, Clinton clarified that he had not apologized to Lewinsky, suggesting one was not necessary.
As Daily Mail reports, Clinton and famed author James Patterson, with whom Clinton is on a book tour to promote their co-written fictional piece, said the 20-year-old scandal should no longer be discussed:
If he were president today, he said later, his most famous extramarital affair wouldn’t ‘be an issue, because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts.’
Patterson, too, defended Clinton – by comparing his sexual affairs in office with those of two preceding Democratic presidents.
‘It’s 20 years ago, come on!’ he blasted Melvin. ‘Let’s talk about JFK. Let’s talk about, you know, LBJ. Stop already!’
Clinton piled on.
‘You think President Kennedy should have resigned? Do you believe President Johnson should have resigned? Someone should ask you these questions because of the way you formulate the questions,’ he jabbed. ‘I dealt with it 20 years ago, plus.’
Suddenly philosophical and seeming to take a longer view of history, Clinton said: ‘I have tried to do a good job since then with my life and with my work. That’s all I have to say to you.’
Clinton received criticisms from supporters and opponents alike following the interview.
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) June 5, 2018
This is so gross I have no words. She was your intern and you sir were the president of the United States. You knew better and dirtied our Oval Office like no one before. You are a predator who took advantage of a young woman. Shame on you! https://t.co/kV7fwMPFEu
— Kaya Jones (@KayaJones) June 5, 2018
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 5, 2018