Former President Bill Clinton addressed the #MeToo movement over the weekend, during a tense exchange with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin. In his remarks, Clinton said that #MeToo was long overdue, but was adamant that he had done “the right thing” in not resigning during the Monica Lewinsky scandal that nearly toppled his presidency in 1998.
“I like the #MeToo movement. I think it’s way overdue,” said Clinton. “I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution.”
Clinton was joined by author James Patterson for the interview. The pair is making the rounds now promoting their book “The President is Missing,” which is out today. The former president accused Melvin of only presenting one side of the story and attempting to re-litigate an issue that was settled two decades ago.
“You typically have ignored gaping facts in describing this. And I bet you don’t even know them. This was litigated 20 years ago. Two-thirds of the American people sided with me,” Clinton added. “And I’ve tried to do a good job since them with my life and with my work. That’s all I have to say to you.”
It was all too much for Patterson as well, who chimed in with his own defense.
“I think his thing has been it’s 20 years ago,” he said. “Come on. Let’s talk about JFK. Let’s talk about, you know, LBJ. Stop already.”
Clinton’s conduct in the White House raised concerns as the #MeToo movement rose last year and presented particularly uncomfortable challenges for his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In her presidential campaign in 2016, Clinton often found herself weighed down by her husband’s legacy, which Donald Trump routinely tried to attach to her.
Clinton’s remarks to Melvin represent the first time the former president has addressed the #MeToo movement publicly in any substantive way.