It’s been 20 years since President Bill Clinton’s affair with a White House intern shocked the world. And, much to Clinton’s dismay, we’re still talking about it.
In the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, Monica Lewinsky penned an essay for Vanity Fair in February, explaining how the current conversation on sexual abuses of power has changed her perspective on her affair with Clinton.
“I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege,” Lewinsky, now 44, wrote.
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In an interview with NBC’s Today that aired on Monday, Clinton was asked to reevaluate the scandal through the lens of the #MeToo movement and comment on whether he’d approach the fallout differently today.
“I don’t think it would be an issue, because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts,” the former President said.
“A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work,” he said of the #MeToo-inspired discussion of whether Clinton should have resigned in ’98. “I think partly because they’re frustrated that they’ve got all these serious allegations against the current occupant of the oval office and these voters don’t seem to care,” he explained, referencing the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump.
“I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution,” Clinton concluded.
Despite his reluctance to address the nuances of his relationship with Lewinsky, Clinton says he “likes” and supports the #MeToo movement. “I think it’s way overdue,” he explained. “That doesn’t mean I agree with everything, I still have some questions about some of the decisions which have been made.”
When asked whether he’d apologized to Lewinsky, Clinton said he “apologized to everyone in the world.” He clarified, however, that he’s never personally apologized to his former intern. “I have not talked to her.”
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NBC News’s Craig Melvin followed up, asking whether Clinton feels he owes Lewinsky an apology. “No—I do not,” he replied. “I have never talked to her, but I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry.”
As the interview went on, Clinton grew increasingly frustrated by the course of discussion, ending the conversation with a straightforward presentation of facts: “This was litigated 20 years ago. Two-thirds of the American people sided with me.”
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