Clinton was responding to a November 2017 comment from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Gillibrand, a junior senator who has made herself synonymous with advocating for sexual assault victims, said Bill Clinton should have resigned from the presidency because of the affair. She specifically drew parallels to the #MeToo movement, placing Lewinksy in the ranks of other victims of sexual harassment and assault.
Asked directly if she believed Mr. Clinton should have stepped down at the time, Ms. Gillibrand took a long pause and said, “Yes, I think that is the appropriate response.”
...A spokesman later said that Ms. Gillibrand was trying to underscore that Mr. Clinton’s actions, had they happened in the current era, should have compelled him to resign.
Rebecca Fishbein expanded on this idea for Jezebel, saying Hillary Clinton cannot claim to be an advocate for victims of sexual misconduct, assault, and manipulation while refusing to acknowledge that her husband's relationship with a 22-year-old intern was a blatant abuse of power.
[I]f you insist on being a strong voice for women in 2018, it’s on you to recognize where we are and where we’re trying to go. One of the most important things the #MeToo movement does is look at how misbalances in power complicate the Venn diagram comprising Legal and Wrong. The line between consent and coercion fuzzes when one of the consenting parties is a 22-year-old White House intern and the other is a 50 something-year-old President of the United States.
Lewinsky herself wrote in a June 2014 piece for Vanity Fair that she did not consider the affair itself predatory and that it was entirely "consensual."
[I]n January and February of this year, Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator and a possible 2016 Republican presidential aspirant, managed to drag me into the pre-election muck. He fought back against the Democrats’ charges of a G.O.P. “war on women” by arguing that Bill Clinton had committed workplace “violence” and acted in a “predatory” manner against “a 20-year-old girl who was there from college.”
Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. Any “abuse” came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.
In February of 2018, however, Lewinsky once again wrote for the pages of Vanity Fair, saying the recent #MeToo movement had forced her to begin reassessing her feelings about what had happened to her.
In this new light, Lewinsky says, she is beginning to realize she had not become a victim after the affair itself, but during.
‘I’m so sorry you were so alone.” Those seven words undid me. They were written in a recent private exchange I had with one of the brave women leading the #MeToo movement. Somehow, coming from her—a recognition of sorts on a deep, soulful level—they landed in a way that cracked me open and brought me to tears. Yes, I had received many letters of support in 1998. And, yes (thank God!), I had my family and friends to support me. But by and large I had been alone. So. Very. Alone. Publicly Alone—abandoned most of all by the key figure in the crisis, who actually knew me well and intimately. That I had made mistakes, on that we can all agree. But swimming in that sea of Aloneness was terrifying.
...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. I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot.