On Tuesday night, former President Bill Clinton got a chance to clean up the mess he caused this week when he was asked about the Monica Lewinsky scandal on the Today show.
“I noticed you didn’t enjoy that entire interview,” Stephen Colbert told the 42nd president. “I want you to enjoy this one.” But that being said, the Late Show host proceeded to ask about what CNN characterized as a “tone-deaf” response to questions about his past.
Offering Clinton a “do-over” on his answer, Colbert asked, “Do you understand why some people thought that was a tone-deaf response to his questions about the #MeToo movement and how you might reflect on your behavior 20 years ago?”
Clinton, who was seated next to James Patterson, the co-author of their new novel The President Is Missing, began by blaming the way his interview with NBC’s Craig Melvin was edited. “They had to distill it, and it looked like I was saying I didn’t apologize and had no intention to,” he said. “And I was mad at me, not for the first time.
“Here’s what I want to say,” he continued. “It wasn’t my finest hour, but the important thing is, that was a very painful thing that happened 20 years ago and I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family, and to the American people. I meant it then and I meant it now. I’ve had to live with the consequences every day since.”
Finally, he said he believes the #MeToo movement is “long overdue and necessary and should be supported.”
In his interview on Monday, Clinton said that he had “done the right thing” by staying on as president throughout the impeachment process and deflected questions about his mistreatment of women by highlighting the female leaders he has empowered since. He also explained that while he apologized “publicly” to Lewinsky, he has not spoken to her directly in more than two decades since the scandal erupted.
He certainly sounded less annoyed by the questions in his sit-down with Colbert than he did a day earlier, but it seems unlikely that his answers will satisfy his critics.