Former President Bill Clinton addressed President Donald Trump’s Twitter habits, his own impeachment proceedings and the pervasive partisanship in our politics in an interview on CBS Sunday.
“I don’t like all this. I couldn’t be elected anything now ’cause I just don’t like embarrassing people,” Clinton said of Trump’s name-calling and nasty tweets. “My mother would have whipped me for five days in a row when I was a little boy if I spent all my time badmouthing people like this.”
More broadly, he spoke of the dangers polarization and partisanship are increasingly having on the inner workings of the government. “The whole American Constitution and representative democracy is built on sooner or later there coming a time of constructive compromise,” Clinton told CBS. “You cannot constructively compromise with someone if you feel that their identity is less legitimate than yours and if you believe that your seething resentment makes compromise a sell-out.”
He also reportedly addressed an earlier era of partisanship, his own impeachment proceedings, where he avoided conviction and removal from office largely due to the loyalty of his own party as no Senate Democrats voted “guilty” on the charges against him. A small handful of Republicans did vote not guilty as well, helping him to acquittal by a 55-45 vote.
“It wasn’t a pleasant experience,” Clinton said. “But it was a fight that I was glad to undertake after the elections, when the people had solidly told, by two-thirds or more, the Republicans to stop it. They knew there was nothing impeachable. And so, we fought it to the end. And I’m glad.”
He weighed in on the political atmosphere around Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as well, saying that Trump is being treated very differently than his Democratic counterpart would be, per CBS.
“I think if the roles were reversed – now, this is me just talking, but it’s based on my experience! – I think if it were a Democratic president, and these facts were present, most people I know in Washington believe impeachment hearings would have begun already,” he said.
He added a personal anecdote about the state of extreme partisanship even in his own neighborhood.
“There’s a Trump supporter here in town that I walked past his house with my dogs,” Clinton told CBS. “He had a ‘Lock her up’ poster in his front window. And I said to him, ‘If you’re gonna do that to my wife, you make sure the prisons are comfortable, ’cause you’re gonna have a lot of company of your supporters in there!’ And you know what he said? ‘Obama and Hillary started the second Civil War.'”