Hillary Clinton’s denial that her husband’s Oval Office tryst with Monica Lewinsky was an abuse of power lit up Democrats and Republicans alike who said she’s wrong, especially since it comes on a key #MeToo anniversary.
The former first lady and secretary of state said on the CBS “Sunday Morning” show that Bill Clinton’s steamy affair with a White House intern was not an abuse of power because Lewinsky, 22, “was an adult.”
When pressed if her husband should have resigned over it, she said: “Absolutely not.”
“It wasn’t an abuse of power?” she was asked.
“No. No,” she said.
Hillary Clinton, who lost to President Trump two years ago, also said she played “no role” in sullying the reputations of the women who accused her husband of sexual harassment.
This all hits as the #MeToo movement marks one year after Harvey Weinstein was brought down after actresses accused him of using his movie mogul status to force them into sex.
Hillary Clinton’s defense of her husband also follows the grilling of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over his past drinking and alleged sexual misconduct.
Political observers said she’s missing the point and that the Kavanaugh hearings showed there’s no cultural statute of limitations on claims of abuse.
“The cause transcends Hillary Clinton’s defense of her husband,” said Democratic consultant Scott Ferson. “It was absolutely a #MeToo situation. We didn’t know what #MeToo was 20 years ago … but to deny it now is folly.”
GOP state Rep. Geoff Diehl, running for U.S. Senate, said no matter what you call it, it’s harassment.
“It all deals with men harassing women,” Diehl said. “Democrat or Republican, men need to be held accountable. #MeToo needs to be nonpartisan.”
Radio host Wendy Walsh, who accused former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly of trying to coerce her into sex, said: “Of course Monica Lewinsky was a victim of sexual harassment. Because of the enormous power imbalance and age difference between she and her boss, she had no real ability to say ‘No.’ The only reason Mrs. Clinton might say that was because the phrase wasn’t coined at that time.”
Lewinsky couldn’t be reached yesterday for comment, but she spoke to Vanity Fair this spring, clarifying a piece she’d written several years ago in which she stressed that the relationship had been consensual.
“I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent,” Lewinsky said in the magazine’s March issue. “Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege.”
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