Bill Clinton Plays Down Franken Harassment Charges: 'There Were 29 Women On SNL That Put Out a Statement for Him'

June 8, 2018

Former President Bill Clinton on Thursday played down the sexual harassment charges against former Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.), charges that drove him out of office in January.

PBS's Judy Woodruff mentioned to Clinton that Franken's ouster from the Senate showed that political norms are changing, and she asked him if that was a good thing.

"Well, in general, I think it's a good thing. Yes," Clinton responded.

He said perpetrators don't have to physically assault somebody to make them uncomfortable at work and said recognizing that fact is good.

Clinton didn't see the Franken case, however, as being clear-cut.

"I think that — I will be honest — the Franken case, for me, was a difficult case, a hard case," he said.

Clinton specifically questioned the credibility of the first sexual harassment story about Franken.

"There may be things I don’t know. But I — 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," he said.

"Too late to wade into it now," Clinton said before suggesting the former senator's resignation should not have happened.

"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," said Clinton, suggesting that because Minnesota voters chose to elect Franken, he shouldn't have been forced out of office.

Woodruff's inquiry came among a slew of questions this week for the former president about the #MeToo movement and Clinton's own controversy with workplace sexual misconduct. Clinton came under fire this week after he pushed back against a question from NBC anchor Craig Melvin about whether he had apologized to former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which whom he had an affair while in office.