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#MeToo Founder Calls Out Hillary: Bill Clinton Affair ‘Absolutely’ an Abuse of Power

The Democrat still doesn't get it — her husband preyed on a young Lewinsky while in the Oval Office

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Tarana Burke, the founder of the original #MeToo movement a decade ago, vehemently disagreed with failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s recent statement that her husband did not abuse his presidential power when he had an affair with a very young White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, while he was president.

“Sexual violence is not about sex,” said Tarana Burke (pictured above right) in an interview with The Root published Tuesday.

“It’s about power. And it’s about the abuse of power.”

Regarding the late ’90s affair between Clinton and Lewinsky, Burke said, “It’s absolutely an abuse of power. Two people made a choice, and one of those people was the most powerful man in the world.”

Burke also called it “just tragic” for Hillary Clinton to deny that her husband abused his power when he began an affair with Lewinsky.

Clinton remains defiant in the face of the #MeToo movement.

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During a recent interview that aired on CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” which Burke’s comments were addressing, Clinton said her husband was right not to resign over his affair with Lewinsky.

“In retrospect, do you think Bill should’ve resigned in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal?” CBS correspondent Tony Dokoupil asked the former secretary of state.

“Absolutely not,” Clinton said.

Related: Why So Many #MeToo Feminists Are Hypocrites

“It wasn’t an abuse of power?” Dokoupil asked.

“No. No,” she said, then quickly interrupted him to say that Lewinsky “was an adult” when it happened.

Lewinsky has said in the past that the relationship was consensual, noted USA Today, but Burke unpeeled the layers of the relationship dynamic in her comments. “You’re talking about an age dynamic, but you’re also talking about the president of the United States,” she said. “The amount of power, the amount of accumulated power that is in that position alone, versus an intern, it’s absolutely an abuse of power.”

Lewinsky herself credited the movement Burke launched for a personal change in perspective on her affair with Bill Clinton, as USA Today pointed out.

“Now, at 44, I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern,” she wrote in a Vanity Fair article back in March. “I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot.”

Lewinsky added, “It’s very likely that my thinking would not necessarily be changing at this time had it not been for the #MeToo movement — not only because of the new lens it has provided but also because of how it has offered new avenues toward the safety that comes from solidarity.”

“We need to see what different models of accountability looked like,” Burke said, noting it’s not too late for Bill Clinton to admit his White House affair was an abuse of power.

“In this moment, it would be wonderful to see examples of accountability in that way,” she said.

Average people have quite a different view than the former first lady does about her husband’s affair.

“Here’s why it’s an abuse of power: Despite Lewinsky’s enthusiastic consent, she could not have opted to refuse or rescind consent without fear of retaliation,” said one commenter at The Root. “True consent must include the ability to safely deny consent.”

The poster added, “It’s similar to the reasoning by which a prison inmate cannot consent to a sexual relationship with a prison guard.”

See more in the video below.

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