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Bill Clinton says he respects Sanders’ handling of restaurant incident

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04: 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton speaks onstage at the 2016 Los Angeles Brady Bear Awards Gala at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on May 4, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Former President Bill Clinton praised White House press secretary Sarah Sanders for her “dignified” response after she was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant due to her role in the Trump administration.

“She didn’t chew them out. She didn’t pitch a fit. She didn’t call them immigrant-loving thugs, or whatever. She just got up and left and offered to pay,” Clinton told “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah on Tuesday.

Still, the former president admitted, “a lot of poison has been poured down America’s throat,” decrying the rhetoric surrounding the 2016 presidential election. “It started off calling Mexicans rapists and murderers. So, it’s hard to pour poison down someone’s throat and not have some of it bubble up.”

But Clinton expressed hope that Sanders’ polite response would pave the way for a more civil discourse.

“So, maybe what I’d like to see this be the beginning of something where, you know, it would be better if we started talking to each other again,” he said.

Clinton also reflected on an occasion where, during his presidency, he was confronted by a protester for the Clinton administration’s response to the AIDS crisis. “When we were in church once, and Chelsea was about 14, we were in a church that was a welcoming church — that is they welcomed people without regard to their sexual orientation or identity — and this man got up and protested and said we should have done more about AIDS,” Clinton said.

“And he was absolutely right. And we wound up doubling funding for treatment and research and paying for about 25, 30% of the global effort at the time, and it still was nowhere near enough. That I thought was fine.”

Clinton also addressed his recent comments on the #MeToo movement, which garnered criticism in light of his affair with Monica Lewinksy during his presidency.

“It wasn’t my finest hour,” Clinton admitted, but added, “we’re all trying to work our way through … how we can use this moment to build a better country, in person after person after person’s lives.”