Bill Clinton Hits Back at Gillibrand, Suggests She Made Remarks About His Resignation for Political Reasons

Bill Clinton has finally responded to New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's November comments that he should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky scandal—and it was to accuse Gillibrand of making the remarks for her own political gain.

"You have to—really ignore what the context was," the former president said in an interview with CBS Sunday. "But, you know, she's living in a different context. And she did it for different reasons."

The "different context" to which Clinton refers is presumably the one born out of the #MeToo movement, which has created a climate in which people are more attuned to the way powerful men have used their status to harass and assault women, or at the very least, have inappropriate relationships with them.

Gillibrand acknowledged that the fact of a president having an affair with his intern would be received differently two decades later precisely because of the current reckoning with sexual misconduct. What was once a national "scandal" might now be considered a reason to resign.

"Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances there should be a very different reaction," Gillibrand told the New York Times in November. "And I think in light of this conversation, we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him."

Bill Clinton basically tells @CBSSunday that Gillibrand said he should have resigned for her own political purposes:

"You have to-- really ignore what the context was. But, you know, she’s living in a different context. And she did it for different reasons."

— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) May 31, 2018

Gillibrand has made a name for herself in the Senate as a champion for women's rights, but Clinton suggested that the rumored 2020 presidential contender had only herself in mind when she gave the quote to the Times.

Gillibrand has been a longtime ally of the Clinton family, and currently holds Hillary Clinton's old seat in the Senate. Some have said the comments—while potentially risky considering all of the sway the Clintons have with the Democratic Party—help distance herself from a political dynasty thought to be radioactive when it comes to conversations about how to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020.

If Gillibrand indeed makes her bid for the White House, it also helps for her to have a spotless record on all things #MeToo. In the #MeToo era, she's led the Senate in efforts to push through sexual harassment legislation, called for former Senator Al Franken's resignation and, of course, demanded that Trump step down for the more than a dozen sexual assault allegations against him. If she didn't condemn Clinton too, it would be glaring.

"What the 'Me Too' movement has done is transform this debate," Gillibrand told the Times. "We never had a conversation this important. It couldn't come too soon."