Bill Clinton is the latest man to squirm awkwardly in the face of questions inspired by #MeToo.
Sitting with his arms folded and visibly agitated, just a few days after critics suggested he should have resigned in the wake his affair with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky, Clinton was asked how the scandal might go down in today's world in an interview that aired on Monday.
Even though it's 2018, even though the #MeToo movement has toppled and continued to topple predatory, powerful men, Clinton insisted that that the scandal wouldn't be an issue if he were the current president. He said in the interview on NBC's Today:
Well, I don’t think it would be an issue. Because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts. If the facts were the same today, I wouldn’t.
Interviewer Craig Melvin also asked if he had apologised to Lewinsky. He said he did - most likely referring to his public apology in 1998 on national television. When pressed about a private apology, Clinton said he did not owe her one and asked Melvin:
Do you think JFK should have resigned? Do you believe president Johnson should have resigned?
Someone should ask you these questions because of the way you formulate the questions. I dealt with it 20 years ago, plus, and the American people, two-thirds of them, stayed with me.
And I tried to do a good job since then with my life and with my work. That’s all I have to say.
But when Lewinsky wrote about the movement in an essay for Vanity Fair, she was not using imagined facts while pointing out the 27-year age difference between herself and Clinton, let alone the chasm in power between an intern and arguably the most powerful man on the planet at the time.
She wrote that she was moved to tears after one of the leaders of the #MeToo movement contacted her to express sympathy that she was "so alone" when news of the affair broke. She wrote: