Bill Clinton Snaps at Today Host in Heated Interview on Monica Lewinsky: ‘You Have Ignored Gaping Facts’
Former President Bill Clinton appeared on the Today show Monday for an interview about his upcoming novel, and he faced the type of questioning that has become common practice in the aftermath of the Me Too movement: a challenge of his treatment of Monica Lewinsky, the woman with which he had his infamous West Wing affair.
NBC News’s Craig Melvin kicked things off by asking Clinton how he would have approached the accusations lobbed against him if he were president in 2018, noting some have recently said he should’ve resigned in the 1998.
“I don’t think it would be an issue because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts,” Clinton said. “If the facts were the same today, I wouldn’t [resign].”
“A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work, I think partly because they are frustrated that they got all these serious allegations against the current occupant of the Oval Office, and his voters don’t seem to care,” Clinton said. “I think I did the right thing, I defended the Constitution.”
“You think this president’s been given a pass, with regards to the women who have come forward and accused him of sexual misconduct?” Melvin asked.
“No. But it hasn’t gotten anything like the coverage you would expect,” Clinton said.
The former president continued that he likes the Me Too movement, saying “it’s way overdue.” He added, “That doesn’t mean I agree with everything.”
Melvin confronted Clinton with a line from the former White House intern’s op-ed in Vanity Fair in which she accused the president of taking advantage of her.
“Looking back on what happened then, through the lens of Me Too now, do you think differently, or feel more responsibility?” Melvin pressed.
“No, I felt terrible then, and I came to grips with it,” Clinton said.
“Did you ever apologize to her?” Melvin asked.
“Yes,” Clinton said. “And nobody believes that I got out of that for free. 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. This was litigated 20 years ago. Two-thirds of the American people sided with me. They were not insensitive to that.”
Clinton went on to describe his efforts at promoting women and fighting against sexual harassment during his career.
“You are giving one side and omitting facts,” Clinton told Melvin.
The two then had a testy back and forth over Clinton not apologizing privately to Lewinsky, despite doing so publicly.
James Patterson, Clinton’s co-author of his book stepped in to say, “I think this thing has been — it was 20 years ago. Come on.”
Clinton then proceeded to grill Melvin on whether he thought Presidents Kennedy or Johnson should have resigned.
“Someone should ask you these questions because of the way you formulate these questions,” Clinton said. “I dealt with it 20 years ago plus, and the American people, two-thirds of them, stayed with me. And I’ve tried to do a good job since then with my life and with my work. That’s all I have to say to you.”
Watch above, via NBC.
[image via screengrab]
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