FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — Bill Clinton reflected in an interview released Friday on his 40-year marriage to Hillary Clinton and some of the “heartbreaks and disappointment” that have shaped her life.
His comments came shortly after Donald Trump applauded himself for not bringing up the former president’s infidelity at Monday’s presidential debate.
In an interview with Max Linsky on “With Her,” the Clinton campaign’s podcast, the former president opened up about how the Democratic nominee has changed since he met her over 40 years ago.
“In Hemingway’s immortal words: In some way or another, life breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places,” Bill Clinton said. “And I think she has literally spent a lifetime dealing with not only her joys and her blessings, but also heartbreaks and disappointment, sometimes unfair treatment.”
He added, “She is more reticent than some people are in this highly revelatory culture we seem to live in to discuss things that she thinks are better kept within the family or close circle of friends. But I’ve watched her, she’s just grown into it.”
Trump has brought up Bill Clinton’s infidelity in the days after Monday’s debate and the Republican presidential nominee’s allies have been encouraged to talk about Monica Lewinsky, the intern with whom the former president had an affair in the 1990s.
Hillary Clinton has said that the Lewinsky affair and the spotlight it brought on her family was one of the most difficult times of her life, noting that she fell back on her friends, daughter and faith to get through it.
Hillary Clinton has said she does not feel the need to respond to Trump’s comments and her aides have predicted that Trump’s strategy will fail.
During the interview that taped Tuesday — after Trump made some of his comments — Bill Clinton painted a relationship with Hillary Clinton that was more about their family than politics.
Bill Clinton said his wife tells him when they start to talk politics at home, “No. I need a break. … Tonight you are my husband, not my political consultant or my campaigner in chief. No more of this.”
He added, “When she tells me we don’t need to talk about this right now, I listen.”
Bill Clinton’s role in a Hillary Clinton’s White House has been one of many open questions about what it would mean to have the first woman president in the United States’ history. Hillary Clinton has said she will put her husband in charge of dealing with economic issues in depressed areas.
In the interview released Friday, Bill Clinton said he will be “very reluctant to offer any kind of opinions that could cause internal discord” if Clinton becomes president.
“I will give most of my advice to her privately,” he said. “Unless she asks me to go to a meeting and says, ‘What do you think?'”
Bill Clinton regularly gives campaign advice to Clinton and her top aides, according to people close to the former president. But Clinton’s answer paints a more diminutive role for the former president.
Bill Clinton made that clear in the interview, telling Linsky that he wishes people could know that his wife is “for real” and that she isn’t the “manufactured machine as some of her critics have said.”
“Her passion,” Bill Clinton said, “is real.”