It’s been quite a busy week for the would-be first “First Dude,” whose attempt to put the Monica Lewinsky story to bed on NBC didn’t go over so well, and whose “do-over” with Stephen Colbert the next night just earned more collective groans. To close out the week, Bill Clinton decided it was time someone finally came to the defense of alleged “groper” Al Franken.
Speaking with PBS’s Judy Woodruff on Thursday, Bill Clinton got another shot at addressing the #MeToo movement in a slightly more palatable way. The movement, he said, was generally a “good thing” that was helping to bring some much-needed changes to the sexual harassment problem. But while he generally praised the movement, as Town Hall notes, he also defended one of the men brought down by it.
Woodruff cited recently-resigned Democratic Senator Al Franken as one of the people whose groping of anchor Leann Tweeden was handled differently amid the #MeToo wave, and whose offense, he suggested, was a bit less weighty than Clinton’s infamous affair with Lewinsky.
“I will be honest, the Franken case, for me, was a difficult case, a hard case,” said Clinton.
“There may be things I don’t know. But 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,” said the former president.
“Too late to wade into it now,” he said in conclusion. “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.”
The “fantastic” story he appears to be citing, however, has photographic evidence, as seen above. Along with groping her, Tweeden says he also forcibly kissed her, which Franken did not deny directly but instead said he remembered “differently” than Tweeden described it.
Clinton also got the unwelcome chance to weigh in on his friendship with Harvey Weinstein, about whose indiscretions he said he “didn’t know” anything about and whom he stressed he only saw at events when he was with his family.
In his much-maligned appearance on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday, Clinton portrayed himself as a victim of misinformation about the Lewinsky scandal and insisted that he acted to defend the Constitution.
“A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work, I think partly because they’re frustrated that they got all these serious allegations against the current occupant of the Oval Office and his voters don’t seem to care,” said Clinton. “I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution.”
In case you missed Clinton’s “do-over” on Colbert the next night, enjoy: