Former President Clinton said in an interview Tuesday that he was "mad" at himself after watching his comments about Monica Lewinsky and the #MeToo movement in an earlier interview.
Clinton said in a clip released ahead of Tuesday's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" that he had apologized to Lewinsky and her family over the decades-old affair he had with her, which occurred when she was an unpaid White House intern.
"When I saw the interview, I thought that, because they had to distill it, it looked like I was saying I didn't apologize and I had no intention to. And I was mad at me," Clinton said, to surprised laughter from the audience, in reference to an earlier interview he did with NBC.
"Well, you said you apologized in the interview," Colbert responded.
"Well, I did, and they showed a film clip finally," Clinton added. "Here's what I want to say: It wasn't my finest hour, but the important thing is, that was a very painful thing, that happened 20 years ago, and I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family, to the American people."
"I meant it then, I meant it now," he said.
Clinton came under criticism from many in the media and some Democrats for forcefully defending his decision to apologize to Lewinsky publicly, through the media, rather than privately to Lewinsky and her family.
“I have never talked to her,” Clinton said during the NBC interview on Monday. “But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.”
The remarks stunned allies and came off as contrary to mainstream Democratic acceptance of the #MeToo and #Time'sUp movements, which have sought to expose sexual misconduct in media, entertainment, and politics.
“I think it’s safe to say I was a little stunned,” one Clinton ally told The Hill afterward on Monday. “That’s certainly not what I would have expected him to say, particularly at this time with everything going on in the backdrop.”