Former President Bill Clinton accused NBC reporter Craig Melvin of only giving one side of the facts when he asked questions about Clinton’s handling of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
“You are giving one side and omitting facts,” Clinton told Melvin during the interview, which aired Monday on “Today.”
Melvin asked Clinton if he ever apologized to Lewinsky, which led Clinton to become defensive and talk about how he paid a steep cost for his actions. Clinton and Lewinsky, then a White House intern 27 years his junior, had a series of sexual encounters between 1995 and 1997, culminating in a political scandal that rocked the country.
Clinton ultimately admitted to having a relationship with Lewinsky that was “not appropriate.” His testimony about their relationship before a grand jury later led to his 1998 impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice.
“Did you ever apologize to her?” Melvin asked.
“Yes,” Clinton said. “And nobody believes that I got out of that for free. I left the White House $16 million in debt. But you typically have ignored gaping facts in describing this and I bet you don’t even know them.”
Melvin defended his questions and said he was not trying to present a side. He went on to follow up on Clinton’s apology to Lewinsky.
“I have. I apologized to everyone in the world,” Clinton said, referencing his public apology when he was president.
“But you didn’t apologize to her?” Melvin asked.
“I have not talked to her,” Clinton said.
“Do you feel like you owe her an apology?” Melvin asked.
“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,” Clinton said.
“And you don’t think a private apology is owed?” Melvin asked.
Famed author James Patterson, who was there to promote a book he co-wrote with the former president, intervened and said the scandal was 20 years ago and that it was time to stop talking about it.
“I think this thing—it’s 20 years ago, come on. Let’s talk about JFK. Let’s talk about—you know, LBJ. Stop already,” Patterson said.
Clinton questioned Melvin’s formulation of his questions.
“You think President Kennedy should resign? Do you believe President Johnson should resign? 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,” Clinton said. “That’s all I have to say to you.”
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” slammed Clinton on Monday for the defensive posture that he took in the recent NBC interview.
“And so what you saw there, I think is the end of Bill Clinton’s life as a public figure in this country,” MSNBC political commentator Steve Schmidt said. “Because of that interview I don’t think he’s campaigning anywhere ever again unless he can clean it up and fix it pretty quickly.”
By: Andrew Kugle
(Washington Free Beacon)