In an interview with CBS, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended her husband against critics who say he should have resigned in light of his scandalous affair with Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky “was an adult,” Clinton said, and responded “absolutely not” when asked if her husband should have resigned.
This put her at odds with New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has Clinton’s former seat, who said that she believed President Bill Clinton should have stepped down when news of his affair came to light. “Let me ask you this,” Clinton said, “Where’s the investigation of the current incumbent, against whom numerous allegations have been made, and which he dismisses, denies and ridicules?”
Hillary Clinton’s question may objectively be a fair one, but it smacks of whataboutism in the context of the interview. Yes, the allegations against President Donald Trump are serious ones, worthy of more investigation than they’ve received. But President Clinton’s affair (to say nothing of the subsequent denials) was also a serious breach of trust with the voting public, and any time a powerful man leverages his privilege against a young woman, important questions need to be asked about abuse of power.
Hillary Clinton has weathered some unfair attacks, implicitly blaming her for her husband’s wrongdoing. Such smears are inexcusable. But what President Clinton did was also inexcusable and regardless of his wife’s feelings about what he should or should not have done in response to the scandal, minimizing its severity is a bad look.