Bill Clinton downplays ill-tempered NBC interview on Monica Lewinsky, says he 'got hot under the collar'

  • Bill Clinton lashed out yesterday at an NBC interviewer who was grilling him on the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

  • He told NBC's Craig Melvin that he "ignored gaping facts" in describing the scandal and was "giving one side" of the story.

  • Clinton made headlines by saying he still does not feel the need to apologize to Lewinsky privately.

  • Hours later, he attempted to downplay his comments by saying he "got hot under the collar because of the way the questions were asked."

Bill Clinton has rowed back on an interview in which he lashed out at an interviewer who was grilling him over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

On Monday, the former US president told Craig Melvin, an anchor at NBC's "Today" programme that "you, typically, have ignored gaping facts in describing" the scandal, and that he was "giving one side" of the story.

Melvin had quoted a Vanity Fair essay by Lewinsky, in which she said that the #MeToo movement led her to look at her relationship with the former president through a new lens, and to conclude that the affair was a "gross abuse of power" on Clinton's part.

You can see Clinton's response around the 0:42 mark in the video below.

Hours later, Clinton told a book tour event in New York that he "got hot under the collar," blaming his temper on "the way of the questions were asked."

"The truth is, the hubbub was I got hot under the collar because of the way the questions were asked," he said, according to CNN.

The former president, however, appeared to stand by the fact that he never apologized to Lewinsky privately for the scandal or its aftermath, and believes his public apology was sufficient.

He said:

"I think what was lost were the two points that I made that are important to me.

"The suggestion was that I never apologized for what caused all the trouble for me 20 years ago. First point is, I did. I meant it then, I meant it now.

"I apologized 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.

"The second is that 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."

Lewinsky said she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) years after the scandal, "mainly from the ordeal of having been publicly outed and ostracized back then."

Hillary Clinton recently recalled her final words to Bill before he publicly admited to being dishonest about his relationship with Lewinsky in 1998.

She said: "I finally said, 'Well, Bill, this is your speech. You're the one who got yourself into this mess, and only you can decide what to say about it.' Then Chelsea and I left the room."

SEE ALSO: Bill Clinton lashes out at NBC interviewer who was grilling him on the Monica Lewinsky scandal

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