Former president Bill Clinton says the resignation of Sen. Al Franken following charges of sexual harassment was a “grievous thing” and suggests that the Minnesota Democrat’s stepping down may have been premature.
“I think that — I will be honest — the Franken case, for me, was a difficult case, a hard case,” Clinton said in an interview with Judy Woodruff which aired over the weekend on PBS Newshour.
“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.”
Franken resigned last January after several allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him.
Clinton — who was embroiled in his own sex scandal involving a White House intern while he was president — said the increased scrutiny of sexual harassment in the United States is ‘in general … 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,” Clinton told Woodruff.
“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.”
Clinton spoke with PBS as part of the promotional tour for his new thriller “The President is Missing,” written with James Patterson.