Admits he never apologized beyond a blanket public apology
Monday, NBC’s Today Show aired a fabulous interview with Bill Clinton. In the interview recorded Sunday, the former President went full US Americans when asked if he ever apologized to Monica Lewinsky.
Clinton dodged the question repeatedly. Interviewer Craig Melvin persisted and finally pushed Clinton to admit that he never contacted Lewinsky to apologize, though he did apologize publicly. Neither does Clinton believe he owes Lewinsky an apology.
In his scramble to redirect, Clinton whined that Trump hasn’t received the same media treatment Clinton received, despite numerous accusations of sexual misconduct. He said of this seriously, as though Stormy Daniels hasn’t been a headline mainstay these last months.
In March, Lewinsky wrote a lengthy and thoughtful op-ed exploring how her views on the relationship she once had with Clinton have evolved as a result of the #MeToo era.
Given my PTSD and my understanding of trauma, 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. Just four years ago, in an essay for this magazine, I wrote the following: “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.” I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)
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. (Although power imbalances—and the ability to abuse them—do exist even when the sex has been consensual.)
But it’s also complicated. Very, very complicated. The dictionary definition of “consent”? “To give permission for something to happen.” And yet what did the “something” mean in this instance, given the power dynamics, his position, and my age? Was the “something” just about crossing a line of sexual (and later emotional) intimacy? (An intimacy I wanted—with a 22-year-old’s limited understanding of the consequences.) He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better. He was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career, while I was in my first job out of college. (Note to the trolls, both Democratic and Republican: none of the above excuses me for my responsibility for what happened. I meet Regret every day.)
“This” (sigh) is as far as I’ve gotten in my re-evaluation; I want to be thoughtful. But I know one thing for certain: part of what has allowed me to shift is knowing I’m not alone anymore. And for that I am grateful.
Many things change and evolve in this world, but not the Clintons.
Obfuscation, blame shifting, and the willingness to tank everyone around them in order to survive the political battleground are so deeply embedded in their ethos that they know no other response.
Time will judge them accordingly, but in the meantime, enjoy watching a sad old sack get thrown off his game, a game he no longer dominates.DONATE
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