Former President Bill Clinton said Sunday he believed that President Barack Obama received friendlier media coverage than did other chief executives in part because of his race.
Asked about the stark contrast in press coverage between Mr. Obama and President Trump, Mr. Clinton agreed that there was a different standard.
“They did treat him [Obama] differently than other Democrats and Republicans,” Mr. Clinton said in an interview on “CBS This Morning.” “It was the political press.”
Why? “I don’t know. They liked him. And they liked having the first African-American president, and he was a good president I think,” Mr. Clinton said. “I don’t agree with President Trump’s assessment of his service.”
The 42nd president also said he thought that a Democratic president would have been impeached by now if confronted with the same facts facing Mr. Trump, whose 2016 campaign has been under investigation for a year over allegations of Russian collusion.
“I think if the roles were reversed — now it’s me just talking, but based on my experience — if there were a Democratic president and these facts were present, most people I know in Washington believe impeachment hearings would have begun already,” Mr. Clinton said.
He also addressed criticism by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat, who said in November that she thought he should have resigned his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
“You have to really ignore what the context was,” Mr. Clinton said. “But you know, she’s living in a different context. And she did it for different reasons. So, I — but I just disagree with her.”
It was his first response to the left’s so-called reckoning over alleged sexual misconduct by Democratic men, including Mr. Clinton, who was championed by liberals even after he admitted in 1998 to a sexual relationship with the 22-year-old White House intern.
Ms. Gillibrand told the New York Times that it would have been “the appropriate response” for Mr. Clinton to step down over the affair, adding that, “But I think things have changed today, and I thin under those circumstances, there should be a very different reaction.”
Mr. Clinton also said that he knew the 1999 impeachment proceedings against him on perjury and obstruction of justice “wouldn’t succeed.”
“It wasn’t a pleasant experience,” he 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.”
The former president made his appearance as part of a book tour for his newly released political thriller written with bestselling author James Patterson, “The President is Missing.”