While being interviewed, Clinton admitted to having felt “terrible” in the wake of the scandal, but added that he’s come to grips with it.
“I dealt with it 20 years ago, and I’ve tried to do a good job since then, and with my life and with my work. That’s all I have to say,” the ex-president said.
The affair first came to light in 1998, laying the groundwork for an impeachment process against Clinton, who, in turn, decided to stand up against those charges. During the interview he emphasized that he wouldn’t have changed his decision in light of the anti-harassment movement, #MeToo, which he defended and called “way overdue.”
“Well, I don’t think it would be an issue. Because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts. If the facts were the same today, I wouldn’t. A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work, I think partly because they were frustrated that they got all these serious allegations against the current occupant of the Oval Office. And his voters don’t seem to care. I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution,” Clinton said, referring to his critics, who are “frustrated” by President Donald Trump, who has been accused by multiple women of alleged sexual misconduct.
Clinton went on to complain that when he resigned he bore enormous costs due to the legal consequences of his sexual relationship with Lewinsky.
“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 and they were not insensitive to that,” he told Melvin.
When asked if he had privately apologized to Lewinsky, Clinton said he’d apologized publicly to “everybody in the world” following his impeachment trial.
“I have never talked to her but I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry,” he told Melvin, at the same time questioning why his predecessors hadn’t been held to the same standards as he had.
His fiery rant couldn’t go unnoticed on social media as many started saying that his affair with Lewinsky had nothing to do with the anti-harassment movement, as the relationship was consensual:
Did she say no?— The Gnome 💙💚 (@42Gnome) 4 июня 2018 г.
Was she forcefully coerced?
At any time did she try to end it and he wouldn't?
For me, those would make it a #metoo moment.
#metoo is about sexual assault and harassment. What Bill and Monica did was consensual. Know the difference. Come on people!— Jay Thomas Kirby (@JayThomasKirby) 4 июня 2018 г.
Why are we talking about this at all NOW? Monica was an adult and as much at fault for the consensual encounter. I don't believe she ever claimed he did anything against her will.— klaasend (@klaasend) 4 июня 2018 г.
Others, however, defended Lewinsky, saying that she was a young intern, who might have been pressured by “the most powerful man on the planet”:
I think that's correct. Though some would argue that positions of power negate the validity of consent. I can see that side, as well.— William (@c6a3t) 4 июня 2018 г.
Bill Clinton is one of the very many, very public reasons we need #MeToo. Lewinsky and the women in his life have had to answer for his actions, have faced attacks and harassment he has NEVER even approached. The world owes them apologies, but at the VERY least he does. https://t.co/xwQ24G5F7S— Courtney Enlow (@courtenlow) 4 июня 2018 г.
You are once again silencing the "victim"/woman in this situation by only speaking with him. Maybe we should start focusing on Monica and see what she has to say and how she feels after the #MeToo movement?— #TeamSamantha 🐰❤️✌🏻 (@MHowe75) 4 июня 2018 г.
In February, Lewinsky penned an essay for Vanity Fair, describing her sexual relations with Clinton as full of “inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege.”
“He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 year my senior, with enough life experience to know better. […] I – we – owe a huge debt of gratitude to the #MeToo and Time’s Up heroines, They are speaking volumes against the pernicious conspiracies of silence that have long protected powerful men when it comes to sexual assault, sexual harassment, and abuse of power,” Lewinsky wrote, confessing that she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to relentless public scrutiny.