Brow Beat

Stephen Colbert Confronted President Clinton About His “Tone-Deaf” #MeToo Comments

President Bill Clinton sits across from Stephen Colbert.
Still taken from video clip.

Last night on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, former President Bill Clinton was interviewed alongside his book co-author, James Patterson. In typical Colbert fashion, the very first question was about Clinton’s recent, polarizing comments on the Today Show. The former president was offered a “do-over” on his answers to questions about the #MeToo movement, in response to criticism that Clinton’s answers were “tone-deaf” and that he seemed offended that the topic of his relationship with then–White House intern Monica Lewinsky was even raised. Clinton told NBC News’ Craig Melvin that he had never personally apologized to Lewinsky and had never felt the need to, and even with more than two decades’ hindsight, he would not have handled the affair any differently.

“With all due respect sir, your behavior was the most famous example of a powerful man sexually misbehaving in the workplace in my lifetime, so it doesn’t seem surprising that you would be asked,” said Colbert. On the Late Show, Clinton admitted being mad at himself for the way he answered the questions, calling the #MeToo movement something that is “long overdue, necessary, and should be supported.” He apologized, assuring viewers he was sincere now and had been in past apologies. But he also still emphasized how painful “the events of 20 years ago” were for him without any acknowledgment of the pain it might have caused Lewinsky.Toward the end of the conversation, President Clinton briefly mentioned midterm elections, encouraging listeners to vote. He also casually referred to Vladimir Putin on a first-name basis and gave a shout-out to Virginia’s election of a transgender woman to the House of Delegates.*

Correction, June 7, 2018: An earlier version of this post misstated that Clinton referenced the election of a transgender woman in Georgia. She was elected in Virginia.