Former President Bill Clinton was at it again on Tuesday, making himself the victim in the Monica Lewinsky scandal that haunted his presidency two decades ago. During an appearance on “The Late Show,” host Stephen Colbert handled the former president with kid gloves, a courtesy he would assuredly not offer the current president.
Giving Clinton what he called a “do-over,” Colbert asked him about the answer he gave to the “Today” show on Monday that had him attacked from every side. “I noticed you didn’t enjoy that entire interview,” Colbert said. “I want you to enjoy this one.”
Isn’t that nice? How unbiased of him. Colbert, who routinely attacks President Trump as abusive to women and a misogynist, wanted to be certain that one of the most notorious womanizers in American history had a good time during his interview.
“Do you understand why some people thought that was a tone-deaf response to his questions about the #MeToo movement and how you might reflect on your behavior 20 years ago?” Colbert asked the 42nd president.
Clinton first took a shot at NBC for the way it edited his interview with Craig Melvin, making himself the victim again. “When I saw the interview, I thought that, because they had to distill it, and it looked like I was saying I didn’t apologize and I had no intention to,” he said. “I was mad at me — not for the first time.”
“Here’s what I want to say,” he said. “It wasn’t my finest hour, but the important thing is, that was a very painful thing that happened 20 years ago and I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family and to the American people. I meant it then and I meant it now. I’ve had to live with the consequences every day since. And I still believe this ‘Me Too’ movement is long overdue, necessary and should be supported.”
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) June 5, 2018
The controversy that the former president was having a “do-over” on was the fact that he sounded defiant and unapologetic to some when he told Melvin that he did “the right thing” by not resigning during the Lewinsky scandal. “Because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts. If the facts were the same today, I wouldn’t,” he said.
“A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work, I think partly because they’re frustrated that they got all these serious allegations against the current occupant of the Oval Office and his voters don’t seem to care,” he said, thinking that shifting the blame to President Donald Trump would be a distraction to the NBC reporter. “I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution.”
He told Melvin that he never privately apologized to Lewinsky and said that he did not think he owed her one. “I’ve never talked to her,” he said. “I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry … The apology was public.”
Everyone deserves a chance at redemption. And everyone, including people we disagree with on many issues, deserve a chance to ask for and receive forgiveness. But it is tough to believe one is contrite when one prefaces his apology with the belief that he is a victim. It makes the apology seem contrived and insincere. There is no way to look into the former president’s heart and know how he feels, but the portrayal of himself as someone who is being attacked by the media that coddles him is tough to take.
As conservatives, many of us Christians, we want to extend forgiveness to everyone, whereas people like Colbert are a sham. The courtesy and kindness he extended to Clinton, a known sexual abuser, would never be given by him to any conservative for the same actions. He goes on rants often about the president being an abuser of women based on a hidden audio tape of locker room talk from many years ago and unsubstantiated claims by accusers.
By giving former President Clinton that opportunity, and by not pressing him on the issue, he gave him precisely what he wanted and needed. A chance to make himself the victim and to receive a pass from the liberals who wanted to give it to him anyway.