Former President Bill Clinton says that, even in light of the #MeToo movement, he would not have approached how he dealt with Monica Lewinsky any differently and acknowledged that — 20 years after their relationship made headlines — he’s still never apologized privately to the former intern.
“I don’t think it would be an issue,” the ex-president told NBC News’ Craig Melvin in an interview that aired Monday on the “Today” show, after he was asked if he would have “approached the accusations differently” if he were president in 2018 “with everything that’s going on with the #MeToo movement.”
“Because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts. If the facts were the same today, I wouldn’t,” said Clinton, who was doing the “Today” interview along with author James Patterson to promote a new book they’ve written together titled “The President Is Missing.”
In 1998, Clinton first denied then admitted to an affair with Lewinsky, who had been a White House intern at the time. The scandal launched a lengthy investigation that ended with Clinton becoming the second president to be impeached.
Clinton told NBC News that he stuck by his decision to fight his impeachment rather than resign, telling Melvin: “I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution.”
The contentious interview came months after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., suggested that Clinton should have resigned after his relationship with Lewinsky became public.
Clinton, however, also admitted to Melvin that he has never privately apologized to Lewinsky over the ordeal.
“I’ve never talked to her,” Clinton said, adding that he had publicly apologized to Lewinsky and “everybody in the world.”
“I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry … The apology was public,” said Clinton.
He responded, “no, I do not,” when he was asked whether he owed Lewinsky an apology.”
Lewinsky, who has re-emerged as an anti-bullying advocate in recent months by writing a series of essays for Vanity Fair, responded hours later by tweeting a link to one of her articles, which have focused on her ordeal and how the current #MeToo movement has emboldened a new generation of women to come forward with their own stories about experiencing sexual misconduct.
In one tweet, Lewsinky wrote that she was “grateful to the myriad people who have helped me evolve + gain perspective in the past 20 years.”
grateful to the myriad people who have helped me evolve + gain perspective in the past 20 years.
worth reposting this today from @VanityFair …https://t.co/u9Ta13Alz3
— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) June 4, 2018
Meanwhile, Clinton also suggested that President Donald Trump, who has faced allegations of sexual misconduct, had not received the kind of media maelstrom he himself had faced during the Lewinsky scandal.
Trump “hasn’t gotten anything like the coverage that you would expect,” Clinton said.
Clinton added that while he likes the #MeToo movement, he doesn’t “agree with everything.”
“I still have some questions about some of the decisions which have been made,” he said.