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Hillary Clinton v Bill Clinton at president Trump’s inauguration ceremony. Win McNamee/Getty images
The rise of the #MeToo movement has prompted countless politicians and also public figures to reexamine President invoice Clinton’s partnership with Monica Lewinsky.

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Hillary Clinton, the seems, isn’t one of them.

In a CBS interview ~ above Sunday, correspondent Tony Dokoupil asked Clinton if she assumed her husband should have actually resigned after his affair v Lewinsky, then a White residence intern, became public.

“Absolutely not,” Clinton said.

Clinton likewise said the partnership wasn’t an abuse of strength on the former president’s part. Lewinsky was “an adult,” she said, before an altering the subject to talk about sexual harassment and also assault allegations versus President Donald Trump.

Clinton’s background when it comes to sexual misconduct allegations against her husband — and also others in she circle — is a complicated one. She never had a satisfying an answer to questions about the accusations versus her husband, which encompass Juanita Broaddrick’s accusation that he raped she in 1978. Top top the other hand, she allowed an adviser to keep his project with she 2008 campaign despite allegations of sex-related harassment — and when she addressed that decision this year, her comments left a lot of to it is in desired.

As a woman married to a powerful man accused of sexual misconduct, Hillary Clinton is in a challenging position, required to answer because that someone else’s alleged misdeeds. However Clinton is also an effective in her very own right, and also when it comes to preventing and also punishing harassment, she may not always have used her strength wisely. Her latest interview is an additional example the a core trouble for her legacy: She does not seem to have totally reckoned through the seriousness of sexual harassment and assault, especially when it pertains to the guys closest to her.

Bill Clinton has actually been accused of sexual misconduct many times

Bill Clinton has challenged a number of allegations of sexual harassment, assault, and other misconduct end the course of his lengthy political career. Most likely most famed was the revelation the he had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky while he remained in office. After a now-famous rejection — “I go not have sexual relationships with the woman, miss out on Lewinsky” — the admitted come the relationship in 1998.

As’s Dylan Matthews has written, the affair, “while consensual in part sense, was however textbook sex-related harassment that a low grade of a type that would certainly (or perhaps more accurately, should) get numerous CEOs fired from their companies.” ~ all, Clinton to be not just Lewinsky’s boss, but also the president of the unified States.

If Lewinsky had actually wanted to refuse an breakthrough from Clinton, or rest off their relationship, would certainly she have felt totally free to carry out so? Or would she have felt trapped, understanding that the president had actually all the power over her future career?

Questions like these space the factor that relationships in between bosses and also subordinates are occasionally banned through employer sex-related harassment policies — given the power differential at play, it’s not clear the such a partnership can ever before be truly, fully consensual. Because the increase of #MeToo, some high-profile men have lost their tasks as a result of allegations the relationships v subordinates — for instance, together allegations were among those that expense Lorin Stein his position as editor the the Paris Review.

In one essay in ~ Vanity Fair previously this year, Lewinsky wrote that the concern of whether her connection with Clinton was consensual to be “very, an extremely complicated.”

“I now see exactly how problematic it was that the two of us also got to a place where there was a inquiry of consent,” she wrote. “The road that led there to be littered through inappropriate abuse that authority, station, and also privilege.”

For bill Clinton, the road to the affair through Lewinsky was also dotted with various other allegations of sexual misconduct. Paula Jones stated that Clinton sexually harassed her as soon as she operated for the Arkansas Industrial development Commission in 1991; kathleen Willey said he attacked her as soon as she to be a volunteer at the White house in 1993. And Juanita Broaddrick says that Clinton raped her in a hotel room as soon as she to be volunteering because that his Arkansas gubernatorial project in 1978. Clinton has denied all these allegations.

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and also the #MeToo movement prompted plenty of to revisit the allegations versus Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton’s history with women began to acquire renewed public attention in 2016, during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Prior to the second presidential debate, Donald Trump videotaped a on facebook Live appearance through Willey, Broaddrick, and also Jones, all of whom claimed they were supporting him. The 3 then satellite in the audience for the debate.

Focusing ~ above the allegations against Clinton was a means for the Trump project to divert attention native the Access Hollywood tape, on i m sorry Trump was heard bragging around his capacity to grab women “by the pussy.” but Clinton’s candidacy, and the increase of the #MeToo movement, have additionally prompted a major reexamination not simply of the allegations versus Bill Clinton, yet of Hillary Clinton’s responses to them.

As the #MeToo motion gained heavy steam — and also especially when democratic Sen. Al Franken was accused that groping ladies — some suggested that bill Clinton should have actually resigned after his connection with Lewinsky. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said in November 2017, together the allegations against Franken were ending up being public, that Clinton should have stepped down. She later on walked she comments ago to part degree, but they to be notable provided Gillibrand’s prominence and also her close connection with the Clintons.

Others, too, dubbed for a reexamination the the former president’s past. “Democrats and also the center left are overdue because that a actual reckoning with the allegations” versus Clinton, MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted in November.

“In this #MeToo moment, when we’re reassessing years of masculine misbehavior and turning open secrets into exposes, we have to look clearly at the credible evidence that Juanita Broaddrick called the fact when she accused Clinton of raping her,” brand-new York time op-ed columnist Michelle Goldberg wrote the exact same month. “It’s same to conclude that due to the fact that of Broaddrick’s allegations, invoice Clinton no longer has actually a location in decent society.”

And’s Matt Yglesias created that Clinton’s failure to resign ~ his affair with Lewinsky collection back the cause of avoiding sexual harassment: “Had he resigned in shame, us all can have do a collective social and political decision that a person recorded leveraging power over females in inappropriate methods ought to it is in fired. Instead, we lost practically two decades.”

While countless now check out the allegations versus Bill Clinton as damning, Hillary Clinton’s duty is less clear. In ~ the second presidential debate, Trump stated that Hillary Clinton had “viciously” attacked Willey, Broaddrick, and also Jones after ~ they come forward through allegations versus her husband. That’s no really true. At least in public, Clinton largely kept quiet about the allegations, together PolitiFact notes.

Broaddrick has said that shortly after bill Clinton raped her, she witnessed Hillary Clinton in ~ a rally. She claimed Clinton shook her hand and thanked she for what she had done for Bill, in a means that felt favor a threat. But past that, yes no proof that Hillary Clinton ever intimidated or attacked Broaddrick. And Broaddrick admits she’s not fully sure of her translate of the encounter: “When you look back over practically 38 years, few of the fury fades, the are afraid fades, and you think, I expect she no know,” she called BuzzFeed’s Katie J.M. Baker.

Clinton did say the the allegations of an affair in between her husband and also Lewinsky were part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” — but, as PolitiFact notes, at the time Lewinsky was still publicly denying the affair.

In general, invoice Clinton’s background has put Hillary Clinton in a challenging position. She can either speak to him come account publicly — and possibly leaving him — or she have the right to keep silent or protect him, understanding that in law so, she discounts the endure of women that say the harmed them.

In she 2017 publication What Happened, Clinton criticizes Trump for bringing Willey, Broaddrick, and Jones to the debate, saying “he was simply using them.” but she doesn’t offer any type of real insight into what she believes around the allegations against her husband, or just how she squares her marital relationship with she commitment to promoting women’s rights — including the right to have actually one’s account of sexual harassment or attack taken seriously.

Of her connection with she husband, she just writes the “there to be times that ns was deep unsure about whether our marriage can or need to survive. But on those days, i asked myself the inquiries that mattered most to me: do I quiet love him? and can i still be in this marital relationship without ending up being unrecognizable come myself — twisted by anger, resentment, or remoteness? The answers were always yes. Therefore I maintained going.”

Hillary Clinton do questionable decisions about sexual harassment within her 2008 campaign

Bill Clinton isn’t the only guy in Hillary Clinton’s sphere to it is in accused of sex-related misconduct. Earlier this year, the brand-new York times reported the Burns Strider, Hillary Clinton’s belief adviser during her 2008 operation for president, was accused of sexual harassment while functioning on the campaign. Instead of shoot him, Clinton maintained him on and reassigned the woman who had actually made the allegation. According to the Times, he later on went on to job-related for exactly the Record, a group supporting Clinton’s 2016 run — and was fired for assorted issues, consisting of allegations of sexual harassment.

In January, Clinton issued a statement on the allegations against Strider in which she claimed she would have made a different decision if challenged with the instance today. However, she wrote, “I didn’t think firing him to be the best solution to the problem. He essential to be punished, change his behavior, and understand why his actions were wrong. The young woman needed to have the ability to thrive and also feel safe. I assumed both can happen there is no him losing his job.”

Clinton did no apologize for she decision, no one did she say whether she thought about warning future job of the 2008 allegations against Strider, possibly protecting his future co-workers. Her statement likewise included an irrelevant and unnecessary swipe in ~ the new York times for maintaining on reporter glenn Thrush after allegations of sexual misconduct by that were published by

The statement together a totality left the impression that Clinton, if perhaps much more thoughtful top top the problem now than in 2008, had actually not fully reckoned v the trouble of sex-related harassment and also an employer’s responsibility to address it. Her interview on Sunday just adds to the impression.

By saying the Lewinsky was “an adult” when the affair take it place, Clinton ignores the inequities between the president and an intern the Lewinsky made an extremely clear in her Vanity same essay. And by insisting the then-President Clinton’s action did not constitute an “abuse of power,” she denies one of the many obviously problematic elements of she husband’s partnership with Lewinsky.

You deserve to argue that the affair was consensual — Lewinsky it s her acknowledges this is a complex issue. However it’s an extremely hard come argue that Clinton didn’t abuse the power of the presidency as soon as he had actually sex v an intern in the Oval Office. Because that Hillary Clinton to do this claim says that either she no understand how abuse of power works or that she’s simply blind to it where her husband is concerned.

In general, it’s tough to know just how Clinton should have actually responded, over the years, to allegations versus her husband and also the dad of her child. To part degree, the understandable that she made decision to remain mostly silent because that a lengthy time. But due to the fact that the climb of the #MeToo movement, she’s chosen to speak directly about the issue of sexual misconduct numerous times, and also several times she has actually fallen short.

Clinton’s feminist heritage has always been complicated. She undeniably blazed a follow for women in politics — really, for many women do the efforts to increase up in what remains a male world. In What Happened, Clinton poignantly recalls assorted struggles v sexism, consisting of a linguistic expert who told her that she essential to make her voice softer and lower in speeches.

“Other women will run because that President,” Clinton writes, “and they will be women, and they will have actually women’s voices. Perhaps that will be less unusual by then. Probably my project will have helped do it that way, and also other ladies will have actually an easier time. Ns hope so.”

Clinton’s project may well do it simpler for future women to run — at the an extremely least, she’s offered them a (mostly) clear-eyed account, in What Happened, that what it to be like. Yet for females who, ~ above their way to whatever career they effort for, room sexually harassed or assaulted, Clinton there is no made it less complicated to come forward. If anything, her comments and decisions have made that harder.

As among the most visible ladies in the world, Clinton has actually a rare chance to send a blog post of support to survivors everywhere. But by acquiring defensive around her previous employee, and denying that her husband abused his power once Lewinsky has actually said the he did, she’s excellent the opposite. She’s end up being one that the many, many civilization showing survivors that, as well often, human being in power will be safeguarded by their powerful friends.

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Hillary Clinton will constantly have a location in feminist history. However when the background of #MeToo is written, she may be remembered as someone who sustained women — till their words hit as well close come home.