News and Society

Bill Clinton Under Fire, Says Norms Have Changed of What You Can Do To Someone ‘Against Their Will’

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.

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“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.

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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.

Should Bill Clinton have resigned as president following the Lewinsky scandal?

“Too late to wade into it now,” he continued. “I mean, I think it’s a grievous thing to take away from the people a decision they have made, especially when there is an election coming up again. But it’s done now. And I think that all of us should just be focusing on how to do better and how to go forward.”

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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