The founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, is calling out former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her “tragic” comments about her husband former President Bill Clinton’s affair in the mid-1990s with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
During a recent interview on CBS’ “Sunday Morning,” Hillary Clinton said her husband’s scandalous dalliance with Lewinsky, who was 22 years old at the time, was not an abuse of power. She also said Bill Clinton had no reason to resign the presidency over the scandal.
In an interview with The Root, Burke rebuked Hillary Clinton’s remarks, which she described as “tragic and wrong.”
“The affair — what happened — was consensual, and I recognize that. I think we all recognize that. Monica herself has said, ‘You know, this was consensual,’” Burke explained. “But it certainly is an abuse of power. You’re talking about an age dynamic, but you’re also talking about the president of the United States. The amount of power, the kind of accumulated power that is in that position alone versus an intern, it’s absolutely an abuse of power.”
In a recent interview, Hillary Clinton denied that Bill Clinton's affair with then intern Monica Lewinsky was an abuse of power. #MeToo founder @TaranaBurke sat down with us to talk about how power plays into sexual violence. https://t.co/VG94GNQHel pic.twitter.com/UsOXZ2Lv5k
— The Root (@TheRoot) October 16, 2018
The #MeToo leader went on to acknowledge it’s “unfortunate” Hillary Clinton didn’t use the discussion as an opportunity “to be accountable” for her role in the scandal, which ultimately led the House of Representatives to impeach her husband.
“I think now, 20 years down the road, it’s OK to say this was an abuse of power,” Burke said. “It doesn’t mean he had to step down from his position, but it was an abuse of power that I’m sure he regrets. There’s nothing wrong with saying that. It’s done; he can’t be impeached. In this moment, it would be wonderful to see examples of accountability in that way.”
An acknowledgement of wrongdoing, Burke said, would “reduce some of the harm that Monica experienced in that whole exchange, because she was a kid.”
“Two people made a choice,” Burke said, “and one of those people was the most powerful man in the world. And I just think it’s unfortunate.”