Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who had previously avoided commenting on the Monica Lewinsky affair, said that Bill Clinton’s behavior in the White House was “totally disgraceful and unacceptable.”
Last week Saunders had criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for using Clinton’s past sexual indiscretions to attack Hillary Clinton. “We have more things to worry about than Bill Clinton’s sexual life,” he said according to ABC News. But on Friday, he referenced the affair.
“Look Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton. What Bill Clinton did, I think we can all acknowledged was totally, totally, totally disgraceful and unacceptable,” Sanders said on the campaign trail in Iowa, but emphasized, “I am running against Hillary Clinton, I am not running against Bill Clinton, though I gather he’s been in Iowa recently.”
WATCH: Bernie Sanders calls Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky "totally disgraceful and unacceptable" https://t.co/aHQRQJvIEF
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 8, 2016
Lewinsky was a White House intern between 1995 and 1996. The affair was condemned not just because Clinton was guilty of infidelity, but also that he exploited the unequal power dynamics between himself and Lewinsky, who was then only 22 years old. Lewinsky herself has had to defend the relationship as consensual, and not something she was coerced into.
“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any ‘abuse’ came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position,” Lewinsky told Vanity Fair in 2014.
But the Lewinsky affair isn’t the only problem that could potentially dog Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Rape allegations against Bill Clinton have resurfaced after Juanita Broaddrick, who first claimed in 1999 that Clinton sexually assaulted her during the 1978 gubernatorial campaign in Arkansas, made a Twitter account and tweeted about it.
I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73….it never goes away.
— Juanita Broaddrick (@atensnut) January 6, 2016
Broaddrick had previously shunned media attention, including during the 2008 Democratic primary.
“I’ve been quiet for too long, and now with the possibility of [Hillary Clinton] being the Democratic nominee and possibly president, I feel the need to get involved,” she told The Hill.
According to Broaddrick, Hillary Clinton knew about the rape, and allegedly thanked her in person for keeping quiet, stating, “I am so happy to meet you. I want you to know that we appreciate everything you do for Bill.”
Through a lawyer, President Clinton has denied Broaddrick’s claims.
Meanwhile, Sanders tried to differentiate himself from Clinton and Republican presidential candidates.
“So what I am doing is contrasting my record with Hillary Clinton’s record, and they are very, very different records,” he said on Friday, according to news reports. “But I am not going to get into the personal stuff. … I’ve never run a negative TV ad in my life.”