Monica Lewinsky says that if she were to see Hillary Clinton today in person, “I know that I would summon up whatever force I needed to again acknowledge to her — sincerely — how very sorry I am.”
She’s talking, of course, about her multi-year affair with then-President Bill Clinton, beginning back in the late 1990s when she was a very young White House intern and he was a 50-something married man — a man who also happened to work in the Oval Office.
Lewinsky, who is now 45 years old, has laid bare her soul in hours and hours of interviews about her affair with Clinton for a new A&E docu-series, “The Clinton Affair.”
The six-part series will air beginning on Sunday, November 18.
Clinton, of course, famously lied about the details of that relationship once it became known — which is why the House of Representatives impeached him in late 1998 and early 1999 (Clinton, of course, went on to complete his second term in office).
Lewinsky wrote a long explainer for Vanity Fair about the interviews she did for the A&E series — and explained her frustration with Clinton after the affair and also the way he was treated by the media, as The Daily Caller also noted, since they almost never asked him about it.
As she wrote in her Vanity Fair piece, “After occupying distant orbits for two decades, we finally reached the perigee. For the first time in more than 15 years, Bill Clinton was being asked directly about what transpired.”
“If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer. But in June of this year, during an interview on NBC, Craig Melvin asked Bill Clinton those questions. Was I owed a direct apology from him? Bill’s indignant answer: ‘No.'”
Lewinsky added, “He contended that he had apologized publicly in 1998. I did, as well.”
“My first public words after the scandal — uttered in an interview with Barbara Walters on March 3, 1999,” she went on to say, “were an apology directly to Chelsea and Mrs. Clinton. And if I were to see Hillary Clinton in person today, I know that I would summon up whatever force I needed to again acknowledge to her — sincerely — how very sorry I am.”
But that’s not something Bill Clinton has ever said to her directly.
The Vanity Fair essay is fascinating for what Lewinsky says — and doesn’t say.
“In order to move forward in the life I have, I must take risks — both professional and emotional. (It’s a combustible combination.) An important part of moving forward is excavating, often painfully, what has gone before,” she wrote. “When politicians are asked uncomfortable questions, they often duck and dodge by saying, ‘That’s old news. It’s in the past.’ Yes. That’s exactly where we need to start to heal — with the past. But it’s not easy.”
“At 22, I took the small, narrow sliver of the man I knew and mistook it for the whole.”
She noted that “filming the documentary forced me to acknowledge to myself past behavior that I still regret and feel ashamed of. There were many, many moments when I questioned not just the decision to participate [in the TV series], but my sanity itself. Despite all of the ways I tried to protect my mental health, it was still challenging.”
She also says that yes, she experienced grief — grief for the “lost years” she spent as “that woman” … and grief “for a relationship that had no normal closure, and instead was slowly dismantled by two decades of Bill Clinton’s behavior that eventually (eventually!) helped me understand how, at 22, I took the small, narrow sliver of the man I knew and mistook it for the whole.”
What is still egregious and almost never admitted by most of the mainstream media is the pain this woman endured (and still endures) because of what a much older, and presumably much wiser (but clearly not), individual did to her all those years ago — and the price she is still paying for it.
All these years later, he is out there on the “circuit,” giving talks, writing books, raking in the millions, and still with no direct “I’m sorry” ever said to her face — while she is agonizing over whether she did the right thing by agreeing to a bunch of interviews for a TV series about the “affair” the whole country knows about and still, in large measure, likely has questions about that may never be answered.
Check out this video, too: