Former President Bill Clinton said Thursday he thought Monica Lewinsky “paid quite a price” for their affair in the 1990s and was glad the former White House intern has gone on to build a successful career.
“I’m glad to see she went back to school, made a career,” Clinton said of Lewinsky in an interview with PBS NewsHour managing editor and anchor Judy Woodruff. Clinton added that he had been “afraid she would be frozen in the public mind for the rest of her life in what happened, and I didn’t want that for her. And I think she’s tried to build a bigger, different, broader life, and I hope she has.”
Lewinsky is now a prominent public speaker and anti-bullying advocate after spending years avoiding the spotlight following her affair with Clinton, which led to his impeachment by the House in 1998.
The affair has received fresh attention in the #MeToo era, amid news of sex scandals involving powerful men in politics, entertainment, media and sports. Clinton has faced questions about it this week while on tour promoting his new book “The President is Missing,” a thriller he co-wrote with James Patterson. He was criticized Monday for seeming angry and defensive in speaking about Lewinsky in an interview with NBC.
But in the NewsHour interview, Clinton struck a gentler tone, speaking in personal terms about the impact the affair had on Lewinsky as well as on himself and his family.
“The price that I paid mostly was the pain that I caused to my wife and daughter,” Clinton said, referring to former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea.
Clinton added that he’s spent the last two decades “living with what happened.”
Also in the interview:
- Comey letter ‘flipped’ the 2016 election:Clinton blasted former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to release a letter 11 days before the 2016 election announcing the FBI had reopened its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The decision by Comey caused Hillary Clinton to lose several points in the polls overnight, Clinton argued. If Comey hadn’t released the letter, “the Electoral College would have flipped. That’s what I think would happen,” Clinton said.
Former President Bill Clinton will discuss North Korea, NAFTA and his new novel in part two of his interview with PBS NewsHour managing editor and anchor Judy Woodruff, which will air Friday.