Bill Clinton on Sexual Misconduct: ‘Norms Have Changed About What You Can Do to Someone Against Their Will’

In an interview that aired on PBS’s “NewsHour” on Friday, former President Bill Clinton was asked to react to how societal norms had changed given how now-former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) was forced from office.

According to Clinton, things had changed “in terms of what you can do to somebody against their will.” The former commander-in-chief also suggested he wasn’t sure Franken’s resignation was warranted.

Partial transcript as follows:

WOODRUFF: I assume you think that what happened with you was more serious than what happened with Senator — former Senator Al Franken. He was driven from office, from the U.S. Senate. So, norms have changed. Do you think that’s a good thing?

CLINTON: Well, in general, I think it’s a good thing, yes. I think it’s a good thing that we should all have higher standards. I think the norms have really changed in terms of what you can do to somebody against their will, how much you can crowd their space, make them miserable at work. You don’t have to physically assault somebody to make them, you know, uncomfortable at work or at home or in their other — just walking around. That, I think, is good.

I think that — I will be honest — the Franken case, for me, was a difficult case, a hard case. There may be things I don’t know. But I — maybe I’m just an old-fashioned person, but it seemed to me that there were 29 women on “Saturday Night Live” that put out a statement for him, and that the first and most fantastic story was called, I believe, into question.

Too late to wade into it now. I mean, I think it’s a grievous thing to take away from the people a decision they have made, especially when there is an election coming up again. But it’s done now. And I think that all of us should just be focusing on how to do better and how to go forward.

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