Former US president Bill Clinton has defended his legacy in the #MeToo era. Picture: MSNBC
Former US president Bill Clinton has defended his legacy in the #MeToo era. Picture: MSNBC

Bill Clinton’s ‘trainwreck’ interview mocked

BILL Clinton has insisted he doesn't owe Monica Lewinsky a personal apology and claimed he too was a victim during a fiery, "trainwreck" interview that has been slammed by social media users.

NBC reporter Craig Melvin sat down with the former president for the controversial interview, which aired on the US Today show yesterday.

The interview was supposed to be promoting Mr Clinton's new fictional political thriller, The President Is Missing, which he co-wrote with author James Patterson.

But instead, it soon veered towards the Lewinsky scandal and the #MeToo movement - topics which caused the former president's temper to flare.

A visibly uncomfortable Mr Clinton, was seen squirming, pursing his lips and even wagging his finger at the reporter during the clip, and his responses have been paned as "vague", "combative" and even likened to a child's temper "tantrum" by many commentators.

After news of the affair between the 49-year-old US president and his 22-year-old intern broke in 1998, Ms Lewinsky was hounded by the press and was later diagnosed with PTSD.

She was shamed on a global level, and the scandal has come to define her entire life.

But despite the undeniable impact the affair had on the young woman, Mr Clinton aggressively argued he did not believe he owed her a personal apology, as he had already publicly apologised.

 

"No, I do not - I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry," he said.

"I apologised to everybody in the world.

"This was litigated 20 years ago. Two-thirds of the American people sided with me."

Mr Clinton also visibly bristled when asked whether he thought about the affair in a different light now, in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Earlier this year, Ms Lewinsky wrote in Vanity Fairthat the affair "was not sexual assault" but "constituted a gross abuse of power".

This photo of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky with President Bill Clinton was submitted as evidence in documents by the Starr investigation and released by the House Judiciary committee in 1998.
This photo of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky with President Bill Clinton was submitted as evidence in documents by the Starr investigation and released by the House Judiciary committee in 1998.

"He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better. He was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career, while I was in my first job out of college," she wrote

However, Clinton argued he wouldn't handle the situation any differently if it occurred today, even in light of the growing #MeToo movement which has put the spotlight on the sexual abuse of women at the hands of powerful men.

 

 

He also defended his decision to stay in the top job instead of resigning.

"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," he told Mr Melvin.

"I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution."

Mr Clinton also seemed to paint himself as a victim, and implied President Donald Trump hadn't faced the same degree of media attention as he had, despite a number of sexual assault allegations levelled against Mr Trump.

Mr Trump "hasn't gotten anything like the coverage that you would expect," Mr Clinton said.

And he said while he supports the #MeToo movement, he doesn't "agree with everything".

"I still have some questions about some of the decisions which have been made," Mr Clinton said.

 

 

But actor Rose McGowan, who helped spark the movement after being one of the first women to accuse disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, slammed Mr Clinton's comments on Twitter.

"Bill Clinton. Here is the truth of it: a human life was altered & destroyed due to your selfishness. Because. You. Could. You not only wiped your semen on a young girl's dress, you left a stain on society. You actually owe EVERYONE an apology, especially her. #MeToo" she posted.

Some commentators drew parallels between Mr Clinton and current Mr Trump - who has been accused of inappropriate sexual conduct by a number of women - arguing Mr Trump has got a "free pass" after Mr Clinton's presidency survived the Lewinsky scandal.

Despite being impeached on December 19, 1998 by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice - he was later acquitted of the charges - Mr Clinton remained as president of the United States for another two years.

After losing the 2000 election to the Republicans, Mr Clinton handed over the reigns to the country's 43rd president, George W. Bush, on January 20, 2001.


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