Stephen Colbert gave Bill Clinton a “do-over” in answering questions about the #MeToo movement and Monica Lewinsky when the former President appeared on his show Tuesday.
An interview on NBC’s Today show that aired Monday turned heated when Craig Melvin asked Clinton about his affair with Lewinsky, then a White House intern, during his time in office. Clinton appeared to say he would not apologize to Lewinsky and that he felt he had handled the aftermath of their affair appropriately — comments he later walked back on The Late Show.
“They had to distill it, and it looked like I was saying I didn’t apologize and I had no intention to, and I was mad at me,” Clinton told the comedian. “Here’s what I want to say: It wasn’t my finest hour. But the important thing is, that was a very painful thing that happened 20 years ago, and I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family and to the American people.”
When asked by Colbert why he appeared to find questions about his past surprising in the era of #MeToo, Clinton said he didn’t like the NBC interview because “it started with an assertion that, basically, I had never apologized, as if I had never tried to come to grips with it and as if there had been no attempt to hold me accountable.”
NBC News’ Today released Melvin’s full interview with Clinton in response to his comments. Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie also discussed the incident with Melvin on air, mentioning Clinton’s “false allegations” about the interview.
“That must be a little bit surreal for you to hear the former president talking about you, but I think the tape speaks for itself,” Guthrie said. “You of course did not assert that he never apologized, you asked whether he apologized.”
Clinton, who appeared on the show as part of his book tour with The President Is Missing co-author James Patterson, went on to address the #MeToo movement more broadly, voicing his support for it.
“I still believe this #MeToo movement is long overdue, necessary and should be supported,” he said. “I’d like to think we’re all getting better as we go along.”