New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has campaigned with Bill Clinton in the past, but she now says that the former president should have resigned from office over his White House affair with Monica Lewinsky.
“Yes, I think that is the appropriate response,” Gillibrand told The New York Times in an interview on Thursday when asked if Clinton should have left office following the Lewinsky scandal.
Clinton had multiple sexual encounters with Lewinsky between 1995 and 1997 when she served as an intern.
Gillibrand, who took Hillary Clinton’s old Senate seat, made the remarks just after news broke that Minnesota Sen. Al Franken groped a Los Angeles radio host during a USO tour in 2006.
“It’s very disturbing,” Gillibrand said of the Franken news. “I was very disappointed. But it’s important that survivors are coming out and speaking truth to power and telling their stories.”
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) July 25, 2016
Of Clinton, she said that had his affair with Lewinsky occurred today, he likely would have been forced to resign.
“Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances there should be a very different reaction,” Gillibrand told The Times.
Democrats at the time downplayed Clinton’s sexual misdeeds, with many arguing that his private life was not the public’s business and that conservatives were targeting the Clintons as part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
Gillibrand’s remarks about Clinton exemplify liberal wave of seemingly self-serving historical revisionism.
In addition to his affair with Lewinsky, which began when she was 22, Clinton has been accused of rape and sexual harassment by multiple women. Juanita Broaddrick, a retired nursing executive, has provided perhaps the most damning accusation. She says that Clinton raped her in a Little Rock hotel room in 1978, when he was Arkansas attorney general.
New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg penned an opinion piece on Monday entitled “I Believe Juanita.” Several other pundits have come forward to acknowledge that Democrats have largely ignored and downplayed the allegations against Clinton.
Some conservative pundits have asserted that the Clintons are finally being criticized by their own party because they no longer have political power after the 2016 election loss.
Gillibrand’s condemnation of Clinton would seem to fit that theory.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) August 19, 2013
Gillibrand, who has made sexual abuse on college campuses and in the military one of her legislative priorities, has never publicly criticized Clinton, though the allegations against him have been around for decades. And during her 2006 Senate run, she heartily accepted his endorsement. Clinton stumped for Gillibrand at an Oct. 2006 rally in Albany.
“I was lucky enough to receive guidance and mentorship from Hillary during that run, and was truly honored that President Bill Clinton campaigned for me in my first run for Congress in 2006,” she wrote in an essay last year in support of Hillary Clinton’s White House bid.
In her Times interview Gillibrand also took a jab at President Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct in the past.
“And I think in light of this conversation, we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him,” she said.