Politics

Bill Clinton digs in, says he still wouldn't resign over Lewinsky affair

Key Points
  • Former President Bill Clinton said he would make the same decision not to resign in the wake of his infamous sex scandal with then-White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.
  • While the #MeToo movement has raised awareness about sexual misconduct, Clinton said that the facts in his case would be the same regardless of the time period.
  • Asked if he had apologized to Lewinsky, Clinton said "I have not talked to her" after noting that he had apologized "to everybody in the world" at the time.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton
Stephanie Keith | Getty Images

Even if he was the commander in chief today, former President Bill Clinton said he would make the same decision not to resign in the wake of his infamous sex scandal with then-White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

"I think I did the right thing" by holding on to the presidency after being impeached by the House of Representatives, Clinton said in an NBC News interview that aired Monday on the "Today" show. "I defended the constitution."

Clinton's affair with Lewinsky was folded into the Whitewater investigation in January 1998 by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. By December of that year, Clinton had been impeached by the Republican-led House of Representatives. He was acquitted by the Senate, which was also controlled by Republicans, in early 1999.

While the #MeToo movement has raised awareness about sexual misconduct, Clinton said that the facts in his case would be the same regardless of the time period.

"People would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts. If the facts were the same today, I wouldn't" resign, said the former president, who served two full terms between 1993 and 2001.

Clinton said in the interview that the #MeToo phenomenon is "long overdue," though he holds some reservations.

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

He also said he thinks his presidential scandal has been revived in part because of the allegations against President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

"A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work. I think partly because they're frustrated that they [have] all these serious allegations against the current occupant of the Oval Office, and his voters don't seem to care," Clinton said.

As the list of powerful men accused of sexual misconduct grew over the last year, some Democrats offered critical remarks about Clinton — notably Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who said in November that he should have resigned over the affair.

Asked if he had apologized to Lewinsky, Clinton said "I have not talked to her" after noting that he had apologized "to everybody in the world" at the time.