Bloomberg‘s Mark Halperin said on Monday that the allegations of sexual harassment levied against Bill Clinton were never disproven but were actually confirmed and acknowledged by the former president, whose controversial behavior while in office is being dismissed by his wife Hillary as she seeks the Democratic nomination for president.
Halperin made his comments on MSNBC’s Morning Joe when host Joe Scarborough asked him to “weigh in on … Hillary Clinton of course at times saying that Bill Clinton’s activities [are] not relevant anymore. But has Hillary Clinton ever been held to account for her part of the process?”
“Hillary Clinton said that people have a right to be heard until their allegations are disproven,” Halperin said, “and I think that in some of the most prominent cases, not only were the accusations [against Bill Clinton] not disproven, they were confirmed and acknowledged by President Clinton.”
When pushed to back up his statement, Halperin said, “Well, he acknowledged he had a relationship with Gennifer Flowers. He paid Paula Jones off in a settlement, and has acknowledged much of what Monica Lewinsky says happened. So those are three pretty prominent examples.”
Panelist Harold Ford, Jr., a professor and former Democratic congressman, tried to clarify Hillary Clinton’s comments, arguing that the Democratic frontrunner was talking about sexual assault, whereas the former president’s sexual encounters were consensual. He added that he was not defending Bill’s activities, however.
“If you’re a 52-year-old president of the United States, Harold, and you’re having an affair with a 22-year-old intern, is that defined as consensual in 2016?” Scarborough asked Ford in response, who proceeded to double down on his position.
Halperin then added, “In the two cases you just cited, again to go to Harold’s question of … Secretary Clinton’s [comments] … I don’t know that anybody has disproven the allegations of those two women.”
Bill Clinton’s past has come under fire in recent weeks since he began campaigning for his wife in the early primary states, especially because of comments made by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. The real estate mogul has criticized the former president’s sexual history as well as Hillary for portraying herself as the vanguard of women’s rights in the 2016 election despite what her husband did.
Political analysts have said Bill’s appearance on the campaign trail is a sign that Hillary, the Democratic frontrunner, is nervous going into the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary against Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.,), who is closely challenging her in those states.