Bill Clinton Says He Wouldn't Have Handled the Monica Lewinsky Scandal Differently in #MeToo Era

In an interview on NBC’s “Today” which aired on Monday, former president Bill Clinton stated that he had no regrets about the way he handled the aftermath of his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Clinton appeared on the show to promote his new novel, The President Is Missing, co-written with James Patterson, and was asked about his book as well as his stance on Lewinsky in the #MeToo age.

In response to critics who suggested that President Clinton should have resigned after the scandal, Clinton defended himself by stating that the circumstances of his case were starkly different from those that emerged from the #MeToo movement. Clinton stated during the interview, “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 are the same I wouldn’t [have handled the scandal differently].”

In 1998, Clinton was impeached after he denied under oath that he had an affair with Lewinsky, who was only 22 when their relationship began. Clinton was able to stay in office, and Lewinsky bore the brunt of public scrutiny. Her career was notoriously stymied.

In March, Lewinsky published an essay in Vanity Fair detailing how her perspective on the scandal had shifted post #MeToo. “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,” she wrote. "Now, at 44, I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern. I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot."

Clinton held firm on his belief that he did no wrong, stating that he "felt terrible then" and that he, too, paid a price for the affair. "Nobody believes that I got out of that for free. I left the White House $16 million in debt,” he said. 

President Clinton also stated that while he never privately apologized to Lewinsky, he had issued several public ones. “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,” Clinton told “Today.” “And his voters don’t seem to care. I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution.”