"What I would say to them is what I've acknowledged for a number of years, that five years ago I made a serious mistake. I acknowledged it. I apologized for it. I paid a very heavy price for it, and I've learned from it," Petraeus said in an exclusive interview on ABC's "This Week."
The retired general's mishandling of classified material is back in the spotlight given that he is one of the people whom President-elect Trump is considering for secretary of state.
"They'll have to factor that in, and also obviously 38 and a half years of otherwise fairly, in some cases, unique service to our country in uniform and at the CIA," he said.
If nominated for secretary of state by Trump and confirmed by the Senate, Petraeus would be responsible for carrying out Trump's foreign policy priorities, which could include some of his signature campaign promises, such as getting Mexico to pay for a wall on the southern border of the United States.
Asked how he would convince Mexico to pay for a border wall, Petraeus said, "I'm not sure what the scheme would be there for that. Again, the issue with Mexico would be to determine together how we could improve the status of the security, while certainly not impeding the flow of commerce back and forth that is so very important to both of our countries."
Petraeus met with the president-elect at Trump Tower on Monday and told Stephanopoulos he found Trump to be "quite pragmatic."
"In our conversation, what I enjoyed most, frankly, was the discussion of issues or, say, campaign rhetoric, if you will, and then placing that in a strategic context," he said.
The former CIA director under President Obama was also asked if Trump inquired as to whether Petraeus voted for him for president.
"I don't vote," Petraeus said. "So that's an easy answer."
"I also did not support him, nor did I oppose him, nor did I support or oppose any other candidate," Petraeus said. "I've truly tried to be apolitical."