The View’s co-host Joy Behar said Wednesday that former President Bill Clinton “lowered the bar” on political discourse with his 1998 extramarital affair with intern Monica Lewinsky and that it led to the nation eventually accepting the comments and behavior of President Donald Trump.
“[Bill] Clinton bears a tremendous responsibility for causing [a lack of decorum in national discourse], in my opinion,” Behar said regarding the reaction of the former president when asked during an interview about his affair in the wake of the “#MeToo” movement. Saying that, “I still voted for him.”
The show’s panel used its first “Hot Topics” segment to discuss recent social media posts about the apparent absence of first lady Melania Trump after surgery, and how it shows the degradation of political discourse in the country.
In the next segment, the women talked about how President Clinton reacted during an interview when pressed about his dalliance with Lewinsky and how that event squares in today’s climate of Me Too.
Clinton, who seemed annoyed at the question by NBC News journalist Craig Melvin, said that he had apologized to everyone at the time and feels the movement “is long overdue.”
Later, on CBS’s Late Night with Stephen Colbert, President Clinton admitted that his response during the earlier interview “was not my finest hour.”
He went on to repeat that he did apologize to his family, Lewinsky and her family, and the American people for his actions.
Behar said that when the Lewinsky scandal broke with salacious reports of sexual activity inside the White House’s Oval Office, it was “shocking.”
“When we heard what went down, pardon the expression, in the Oval Office, it was the most shocking thing we ever heard,” Behar said. “We had never heard about anything like this about a president, in the White House, in the Oval Office, in the United States. I believe that set the bar very low.”
She said that when the people hear things about what President Trump said or is accused of doing with women, like adult film star Stormy Daniels, people react with “we have heard this before.”
“It’s not that new,” Behar said.
When conservative panelist Megan McCain equated the reaction of feminists in 1998, who seemed to give Clinton a pass, to Trump voters that continue to support him in the wake of his actions or comments, Behar said the Clinton-era scandal was “a little bit more complicated,” compared to Trump’s missteps.