Former president Bill Clinton still won't directly apologize to Monica Lewinsky for their affair that made her name synonymous with sex scandals.
In a new documentary, Clinton said he felt "terrible" for how their sexual relationship in the 1990s ended up defining Lewinsky's public reputation, but he also said it was up to her to live a "normal life."
"Over the years I've watched her trying to get a normal life back again, but you've got to decide how to define normal," he said.
Bill and Hillary Clinton discussed the Lewinsky scandal in the new Hulu documentary series Hillary, which debuted on Friday. He claimed his two-year relationship with the intern, beginning in 1995, was a distraction to manage his "anxiety" in the White House.
"Here's something that will take your mind off it for a while," Clinton said. "Things I did to manage my anxieties for years. I'm a different, totally different person than I was."
Clinton was impeached in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice after lying about the affair during grand jury testimony.
Clinton's latest remarks about Lewinsky drew criticism in the media.
"Whenever Bill Clinton opens his mouth to speak publicly about his affair with Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s, he inevitably ends up saying something astonishingly tone-deaf," The Cut's Amanda Arnold wrote Thursday.
CBS This Morning anchors also criticized the former president on Friday for failing to directly apologize to Lewinsky.
"For me, my heart goes out to Monica Lewinsky again," anchor Gayle King said. "She was 21, 22.... She still has this baggage that is tied to her while everyone else has sort of tiptoed through the tulips. She's still stuck with this, and it just seems so unfair to me."
CBS anchor Anthony Mason noted there was "no apology" to Lewinsky, and fellow anchor Tony Dokoupil also criticized Clinton for failing to address the "fundamental power imbalance" between a president and a young intern.
"Regardless of anxiety or the stress that you feel because you hold that office, a 22-year-old intern, and no apology," correspondent Vladimir Duthiers said.
"Once again, minimizes, marginalizes her," King said. "It was wrong on all parts, but I hear that, and my heart goes out to her."
Clinton grew frustrated in 2018 when NBC News reporter Craig Melvin confronted him about his relationship with Lewinsky in the wake of the #MeToo movement. He insisted he had properly apologized to Lewinsky for his conduct and accused Melvin of omitting facts to the audience.
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