sexual harassment

Bill Clinton Calls Al Franken’s Resignation a ‘Grievous Thing’

Bill Clinton. Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Former president Bill Clinton has been busy promoting The President Is Missing, the new political thriller he co-wrote with best-selling author James Patterson, and he simply can’t stop stepping in it — “it” of course being his history of alleged sexual misconduct.

Last week, he told the Today show that he believes he “did the right thing” during the Monica Lewinsky scandal; a day later, after facing quite a bit of backlash, he walked this comment back on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. This weekend, during an interview with PBS Newshour, Clinton came to the defense of former Senator Al Franken, who resigned in December following allegations of sexual harassment.

Drawing comparisons between the president’s sexual-harassment scandals and Franken’s, reporter Judy Woodruff said, “He was driven from office, from the U.S. Senate. So, norms have changed. Do you think that’s a good thing?” Clinton replied:

Well, in general, I think it’s a good thing, yes. I think it’s a good thing that we should all have higher standards. I think the norms have really changed in terms of, what you can do to somebody against their will, how much you can crowd their space, make them miserable at work.

You don’t have to physically assault somebody to make them, you know, uncomfortable at work or at home or in their other — just walking around. That, I think, is good.

He went on to clarify, however, that he had mixed feelings about Franken’s case, calling it “a diffcult case, a hard case.”

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.

Clinton added that while it’s “too late” to get into it now, he believes it is “a grievous thing to take away from the people a decision they have made, especially when there is an election coming up again.”

Watch the full clip of his PBS interview below.

Bill Clinton Calls Al Franken’s Resignation ‘Grievous Thing’