Bill Clinton won't apologise to Monica Lewinsky over affair. Picture: NBC
Bill Clinton won't apologise to Monica Lewinsky over affair. Picture: NBC

Clinton backtracks on Lewinsky apology

FORMER US President Bill Clinton has defended himself after saying he didn't owe Monica Lewinsky an apology, admitting he got "hot under the collar".

During an appearance at The Schomburg Centre in Harlem to hype his upcoming book, Mr Clinton acknowledged that he lost his cool on the Today show in a chat that aired on Monday.

 

"The truth is, the hubbub was I got hot under the collar because of the way the questions were asked. And I think what was lost were the two points that I made that are important to me," Mr Clinton said in Harlem, according to the New York Post.

"The suggestion was that I never apologised for what caused all the trouble for me 20 years ago," Mr Clinton added. "First point is, I did. I meant it then, I meant it now. I apologised to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family and to the American people before a panel of ministers in the White House, which was widely reported. So I did that. I meant it then and I mean it today. I live with it all the time."

Mr Clinton was referencing a 1998 mea culpa he made before a meeting of ministers at the National Prayer Breakfast in which he mentioned Ms Lewinsky and her family along with "my family, my friends, my staff, my cabinet."

In his Today interview, the 71-year-old said, "I apologised to everybody in the world … The apology was public."

USA politician President Bill Clinton (l) with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky (r) in the Oval office in photograph given by the President to her as a birthday gift in 1997. Picture: Supplied
USA politician President Bill Clinton (l) with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky (r) in the Oval office in photograph given by the President to her as a birthday gift in 1997. Picture: Supplied

 

But then, when Mr Clinton was asked whether he owed Ms Lewinsky a direct apology, he said: "No, I do not."

In his Harlem talk, Mr Clinton also said: "I support the Me Too movement and … think it is long overdue, and I have always tried to support it in the decisions and policies that I advanced. Beyond that, I think it would be good if we could go on with the discussion."

 

A photograph showing former White House intern Monica Lewinsky (L) working in a White House office as President Bill Clinton looks on. Picture: Supplied
A photograph showing former White House intern Monica Lewinsky (L) working in a White House office as President Bill Clinton looks on. Picture: Supplied

This article originally appeared in the New York Post and is republished here with permission