Bill Clinton was asked yesterday if, looking back at the situation with Monica Lewinsky through the lens of the #MeToo movement, he thought differently about what had transpired with her or felt any more responsibility for it. Proving he has no ability to be introspective, Clinton answered, “No, I felt terrible then. And I came to grips with it.”
Asked if he ever apologized to Monica, he said, “No, yes. And nobody believes that I got out of that for free. I left the White House $16 million in debt. But you typically have ignored gaping facts in describing this, and I bet you don’t even know them. This was litigated 20 years ago. Two thirds of the American people side with me.”
Clinton then went on to talk about all the women he employed — as if employing other women somehow erases his sexual harassment of a 22-year-old intern when he was president of the United States and essentially the most powerful man in the world.
Though their affair was consensual to some degree, you have to consider that there were unfair power dynamics at play. That makes the concept of “consenting” much more complicated, though Clinton can’t — or won’t — grasp that.
It’s remarkable that 20 years later, Clinton still isn’t capable of being more reflective about his actions. His lack of self awareness is frightening.
I have the opposite problem: I am self aware to a fault and often can’t sleep at night because I’m agonizing over past mistakes or wishing I could’ve done something differently or better.
Clinton doesn’t think much (or at all) about his past mistakes. Last night at an event in Harlem he said he got “hot under the collar” and insisted he did apologize to Monica, to his family, and to the American people.
But that’s not enough. Clinton needs to take responsibility for being the more powerful person in the situation, and also for the ridiculous narratives that his political and media allies put out about Monica — often no doubt with his encouragement — that painted her as some deranged stalker or slut.
I will be forever impressed by Monica’s resilience, and her ability to turn her difficulties into anti-bullying activism. It’s unfortunate that Bill doesn’t have one-tenth of Monica’s grace and introspection.
It’s great that journalists are now pressing Clinton on these issues, after all these years. But when will someone ask him about Juanita Broaddrick’s rape allegations?
He’s on a book tour. It’s the perfect time to call out his past predatory behavior. We need to stop letting powerful men get away with this behavior. There is a cultural shift happening and I hope when it’s over we never again have to see or hear from Clinton and other men like him.
Monica shouldn’t have been the one to have to hide in shame for two decades. It should’ve been him. His life and his career should have been irreparably damaged, not hers.