Stephen Colbert Lets Bill Clinton Clarify His Monica Lewinsky Remarks One Last Time In A "Do-Over"
On Tuesday's episode of the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the late night host offered the 42nd president a chance to reflect on some recently ill-received comments. Stephen Colbert let Bill Clinton address his Monica Lewinsky remarks one last time in a "do-over" during the segment, and the former president admitted that even he was mad at himself. Needless to say, Clinton took Colbert up on his offer.
Clinton had received criticism for a June 4 interview with the Today Show. When asked whether Lewinsky deserved an apology following his affair with the former White House intern, Clinton said, "No, I do not — I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That's very different. The apology was public."
Colbert referenced the Today Show interview in his conversation with the former president, saying,
I notice you did not enjoy that entire interview. I want you to enjoy this one, but I do want to ask you something: Would you like a do-over on that answer? ... Do you understand why some people thought it was a tone-deaf response?
In response, Clinton offered his apologies and indicated he was frustrated with the way the supposedly shortened nature of the interview had portrayed his response. As the former president described:
When I saw the interview, I thought that, because they had to distill it, it looked like I was saying I didn’t apologize, and I had no intention to. And I was mad at me – not for the first time ... It wasn't my finest hour ... But, the important thing is, that it was very painful thing that happened 20 years ago ... And I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family and the American people. I mean it then, I mean it now. I have had to live with the consequences every day since. I still believe this #MeToo movement is long overdue, necessary and should be supported.
Clinton had been invited to Colbert's show, along with author James Patterson, to discuss the duo's new book entitled, The President Is Missing. However, Colbert's show is not the only time that Clinton has reflected on his ill-received Today Show remarks. As CNN reported, during the opening of a book tour event in New York City, Clinton emphasized that he had gotten worked up by the questioning on the show, saying "The truth is, the hubbub was I got hot under the collar because of the way the questions were asked. And I think what was lost were the two points [his apology and his support for the #MeToo movement] that I made that are important to me."
Lewinsky has also reflected on her relationship with Clinton in light of the #MeToo movement, writing at length about it for Vanity Fair in March 2018. She wrote that the movement had somewhat changed her perception of her relationship with the former president, saying,
Now, at 44, I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern. I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot ... He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better. He was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career, while I was in my first job out of college ...
Overall, it is clear that the #MeToo movement has certainly brought Clinton's relationship with Lewinsky back into the public eye, causing both the former president and former White House intern to reflect on the matter. Clinton certainly used his Colbert interview to clarify some of his previous remarks about the relationship and to express his support for the movement. It will be interesting to see if he continues to address the issue throughout the remainder of his book tour.