Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s “Real Time,” was highly critical of former President Bill Clinton for recently saying his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky was to help him “manage my anxieties.”
Clinton’s remarks came during an interview included in the four-part documentary series, “Hillary,” which was released on Friday on Hulu — the docu-series focuses on Hillary Clinton’s life, her marriage and her unsuccessful campaign for president in 2016.
“Can I, for one second, channel Monica Lewinsky?” Maher said on Friday’s program. “I just gotta say the blindness of a man saying that I had this affair with this person was to manage my anxieties — how does that make her feel? It’s a terrible thing to say.”
“You know what it reminds me of, when people are with like their second wife and they just go on, ‘This is the love of my life and I didn’t live before I met’ — how does the first wife, how does she feel when she hears this?”
The remarks begin at the 9:20-minute mark of the video below:
Caitlin Flanagan, an author and contributor to The Atlantic magazine, chimed in to say, “The Clintons are very blind. They have a callousness to them.”
“They really do,” Maher replied. “This to me was very callous. It’s like, ‘Manage my anxieties.’ Really? Is there not a human being there?”
Clinton admitted in the interview that he felt “terrible” the affair defined the former White House intern’s life, although his actions with her while in office helped him deal with the stress of the job.
“Nobody thinks they’re taking a risk,” he said. “That’s not why we do stupid things.”
“You feel like you’re staggering around, you’ve been in a 15 round prize fight that was extended to 30 rounds and here’s something that will take your mind off it for a while, that’s what happens,” Clinton added.
In 2018, during an interview with NBC’s Craig Melvin, Clinton had said he did not think he owed Lewinsky a personal apology.
“I’ve never talked to her,” he said. “But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.”
Maher would also come to the defense of Chris Matthews, who abruptly resigned this week from MSNBC.
Noting that Matthews lost his job this week, Maher called the now-former “Hardball” anchor a “friend of mine.”
“I will miss him, and a lot of other people will too,” he said, before turning his ire on the network.
“MSNBC used to run this thing: ‘This is who we are.’ Well, I didn’t like who you were this week, and I don’t think a lot of people who work there liked it either, and I think this ‘cancel culture’ is a cancer on progressivism,” Maher said. “Liberals always have to fight a two-front war. Republicans only have to fight the Democrats; Democrats have to fight the Republicans and each other.”
He cited a number of recent issues Matthews was criticized for, including an interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that critics said was overly harsh.
“This show is called ‘Hardball,'” Maher said, after reading the question that some took issue with. “This sounds like every question Chris has asked.”
In the process of defending his friend, Maher risked having the #MeToo movement turn on him when he belittled some “creepy” comments Matthews made a few years ago to Laura Bassett, suggesting married guys “want to flirt for two seconds.”
He sarcastically compared Bennett to Rosa Parks for coming forward, before asking, “Do you understand why Democrats lose?”
“Yes, because we empower all this lunacy,” Flanagan answered, going on to equate the complaint against Matthews to using a flamethrower to kill a mosquito.
Maher later asked of Bassett, “Is she a compliment victim or a compliment survivor?”
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