In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said Thursday that former President Bill Clinton should have resigned from office over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
“Yes, I think that is the appropriate response,” Gillibrand told the New York Times when asked if Clinton should have stepped down.
Gillibrand suggested that such a relationship is viewed differently now than it was at the time.
“Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances there should be a very different reaction,” she said. “And I think in light of this conversation, we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him.”
A spokesperson for Gillibrand later told the Times that Gillibrand was trying to say that if Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky had happened today, he should have been compelled to step down. Gillibrand is a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton and backed her 2016 campaign. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton also supported Gillibrand in her first bid for Congress in 2006.
Gillibrand said that the debate over sexual misconduct has transformed recently and that people are viewing misconduct differently.
“What the ‘Me Too’ movement has done is transform this debate,” Gillibrand told the Times. “I think because, when you have hundreds of thousands of people coming out every day about all industries saying, ‘This is what happened to me,’ I think a lot of people have finally realized, ‘Wow, I didn’t quite realize this.’”
The New York senator on Thursday said that the allegations against Franken are “deeply disturbing” and called for an ethics committee investigation. Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her in 2006 while they were entertaining the troops abroad. Franken apologized for his behavior and called for a Senate Ethics Committee probe into the allegations, but he also said that he viewed the incident with Tweeden differently. The alleged incidents occurred before Franken held public office.