Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, has said it is "tragic" that Hillary Clinton believes that former President Bill Clinton did not abuse his position of power during his affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s.
In response to Ms Clinton’s interview, Ms Burke said it was “tragic” and “wrong” for the former first lady for refusing to admit Mr Clinton abused his position of power. Ms Burke added that 20 years should have given Ms Clinton enough time to come forward and condemn her husband’s actions in the White House.
“I think now, 20 years down the road, it’s OK to say, ‘This was an abuse of power. It doesn’t mean that he had to step down from his position, but it was an abuse of power that I’m sure he regrets,’” Burke added. “There’s nothing wrong with saying that.”
Although Ms Lewinsky said her affair with Mr Clinton was consensual, Ms Burke said Mr Clinton’s age and the face he held the highest office in the United States at the time should make it clear his affair with Ms Lewinsky was an abuse of power.
“It’s absolutely an abuse of power,” Ms Burke told The Root in an interview. “It’s unfortunate that it wasn’t used as a moment to be accountable.”
“You’re talking about an age dynamic but you’re also talking about the president of the United States,” Ms Burke added. “The amount of power, the amount of accumulated power that is in that position alone, versus an intern.”
The affair between Mr Clinton and Ms Lewinsky began in 1995 when the former president was 49. Lewinsky was 22. The affair ended in 1997, but was revealed to the public in 1998. Subsequently, Mr Clinton faced an impeachment trial that year for lying about his affair while under oath. Ms Clinton stood beside her husband during the trial and continues to do so.
Earlier this week, Ms Clinton repudiated claims in an interview that her husband should have resigned from office in midst of the Lewinsky sex scandal. Ms Clinton then redirected the focus on sexual misconduct from Mr Clinton to President Donald Trump.
“But let me ask you this,” Ms Clinton continued, “Where's the investigation of the current incumbent, against whom numerous allegations have been made, and which he dismisses, denies, and ridicules?
Mr Trump has repeatedly denied all allegations against him.