Regrets? Former President Bill Clinton doesn’t have many when it comes to how he dealt with the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Clinton told NBC News’ Craig Melvin Monday that, even in light of the #MeToo movement, he wouldn’t have dealt with the Lewinsky situation any differently. He also said he doesn’t think Lewinsky deserves an apology.
“I don't think it would be an issue [today], because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts,” Clinton said.
The facts, as they were, came to light in 1998, when then-president Clinton first denied, and then admitted to, having an affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The scandal resulted in a lengthy investigation that ended with Clinton’s impeachment and decades of infamy for Lewinsky, who has recently emerged in public life as an activist and writer.
Clinton's statements come after Lewinsky penned an op-ed for Vanity Fair in March saying their relationship “was not sexual assault” but “constituted a gross abuse of power.” At the time, Lewinsky was 24 and Clinton was twice her age, her boss, and one of the most powerful people in the world.
Following Lewinsky’s statement, New York Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand suggested that Clinton should have resigned.
“Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances there should be a very different reaction,” Gillibrand told the New York Times in November. “And I think in light of this conversation, we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him.”
Clinton disagreed, telling NBC News that even though things are different today, he believes he acted appropriately.
“I think I did the right thing,” Clinton said. “I defended the Constitution.”
Clinton added that he'd never privately apologized to Lewinsky, and doesn’t think he owes an apology to his former intern.
“I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry ... The apology was public,” Clinton said, adding that he had apologized to “everybody in the world.”
But he never said anything to her in person.
“I've never talked to her,” Clinton said.
He ended the interview by saying the incident happened 20 years ago, and that everyone should move on.
Cover image: Former President of the United States Bill Clinton speaks onstage during the Fifth Annual Town & Country Philanthropy Summit on May 9, 2018 in New York City. Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Town & Country.