Former President Bill Clinton is on a tour promoting his latest book project, but so far his book isn’t what’s generating headlines.
Clinton came under fire Monday for comments he made in an interview with Judy Woodruff of PBS that aired last week in which Clinton was asked about the resignation of Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota over allegations of sexual misconduct.
“I assume you think that what happened with you was more serious than what happened with [Franken],” Woodruff asked Clinton. “He was driven from office, from the U.S. Senate. So, norms have changed. Do you think that’s a good thing?”
Clinton, who initially seemed hesitant to answer, offered his reply.
“Well, in general, I think it’s a good thing, yes,” replied the former president.
ICYMI: Bill Clinton with @JudyWoodruff:
"I think the norms have really changed in terms of, what you can do to somebody against their will" pic.twitter.com/YYtqVZlhPN
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) June 11, 2018
“I think it’s a good thing that we should all have higher standards,” Clinton said. “I think the norms have really changed in terms of, what you can do to somebody against their will, how much you can crowd their space, make them miserable at work. You don’t have to physically assault somebody to make them, you know, uncomfortable at work or at home or … just walking around. That, I think, is good.”
People from both sides of the political aisle took aim at Clinton’s remarks.
Bill Clinton’s statement revealing and VERY troubling. Most of us believed that rape and sexual assault were ALWAYS wrong and illegal. Those were NORMS for the rest of us already. https://t.co/l8XSR4UcvU
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) June 12, 2018
This guy… Bill Clinton perhaps you should just stop talking. This is gross! https://t.co/AOmTUTT97E
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) June 11, 2018
“Norms have changed about what you can do to someone against their will” is a hell of a sentiment https://t.co/wjOwGsxiTo
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 11, 2018
Whenever a sentence begins with, “Look, maybe I’m old-fashioned…” > https://t.co/7wa6pUI2LK
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) June 11, 2018
Clinton was also criticized for seemingly questioning the women who made allegations against Franken.
“I think that — I will be honest — the Franken case, for me, was a difficult case, a hard case,” Clinton said. “There may be things I don’t know. But I — maybe I’m just an old-fashioned person, but it seemed to me that there were 29 women on ‘Saturday Night Live’ that put out a statement for him, and that the first and most fantastic story was called, I believe, into question.
A representative for the former president issued a statement Monday trying to clarify Clinton’s remarks.
“He was not suggesting that there was ever a time that it was acceptable to do something against someone’s will,” said Angel Urena, Clinton’s press secretary, in a statement released to Fox News. “He’s saying that norms have changed in a variety of ways in how we interact with one another, and that’s all for the good.”
Clinton is promoting “The President is Missing,” a book he has co-authored with best-selling writer James Patterson. But most of the media appearance to date have focused on Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky and his thoughts on President Donald Trump.
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