Bill Clinton’s relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky threw his presidency into turmoil and left the then 22-year-old dealing with the aftermath of the scandal for her entire adult life.
However, did Bill Clinton ever apologize to Monica Lewinsky after the scandal? Both of them live in New York but they have had very little to say about each other over the years, although Monica has recently become more vocal about the relationship, penning two essays for Vanity Fair magazine about it. The scandal will be resurrected by ABC for a two-hour documentary called Truth and Lies on January 10, 2019.
Here’s what you need to know:
Bill Clinton Said He Already Apologized to Monica But Said He Wouldn’t Apologize to Her Directly
In 2018, Bill Clinton caused renewed controversy about the Clinton-Lewinsky matter when he said he wouldn’t give her a private apology.
Asked in June 2018 by NBC’s Craig Melvin “Do you feel like you owe her an apology?” Clinton appeared to grow angry.
“I apologized to everybody in the world,” Clinton said at one point in the interview.
“But you didn’t apologize to her,” Melvin said.
“I have not talked to her,” Clinton said.
“No, I do – I do not. I have never talked to her,” added Clinton. “But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry,” he said. He added, “Nobody believes that I got out of that for free. I left the White House $16 million in debt.” He also was asked if he would have handled the accusations differently today and said, “I don’t think it would be an issue because people would use the facts not the imagined facts.”
The comments were criticized by some who said Clinton was trying to paint himself as the victim.
He later clarified to CNN, “The truth is…I got hot under the collar because of the way the questions were asked. I think what was lost were the two points that I made that were important to me.” Clinton said, according to CNN.
“The suggestion was that I never apologized for what caused all of the trouble for me 20 years ago. So, first point is, I did. I meant it then and I meant it now,” Clinton clarified. “I apologize to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family, and to the American people, before a panel of ministers in the White House, which was widely reported. So, I was- I did that. I meant it then, and I mean it today. I live with it all the time. The second is that I support the #metoo movement, and I think it’s long overdue. And I have always tried to support it in the decisions and policies that I’ve advanced.”
Of course, back at the time, Clinton said this:
He said that he had sinned. “It’s important to me that everybody who has been hurt knows the sorrow I feel has been genuine,” Clinton said in an address to the nation.
“First and most important, my family. Also my friends, my staff, my cabinet, Monica Lewinsky and her family, and the American people. I have asked all for their forgiveness. But I believe that to be forgiven more than sorrow is required… first, genuine repentance and a determination to change and repair breaches of my own making. I have repented. Second, what my Bible calls a broken spirit. An understanding that I must have God’s help to be the person that I want to be.”
Monica Is an Anti Cyber Bullying Advocate Who Criticized the Internet’s Culture of Humiliation
Monica Lewinsky has said recently that she would still like a private apology from Bill Clinton. “What feels more important to me than whether I am owed or deserving of a personal apology is my belief that Bill Clinton should want to apologize,” she wrote. “I’m less disappointed by him, and more disappointed for him. He would be a better man for it…and we, in turn, a better society.”
In 2014, Monica Lewinsky wrote an essay for Vanity Fair about the scandal’s aftermath.
“I know I’m not alone when it comes to public humiliation,” she wrote in it. “No one, it seems, can escape the unforgiving gaze of the Internet, where gossip, half-truths, and lies take root and fester. We have created, to borrow a term from historian Nicolaus Mills, a ‘culture of humiliation’ that not only encourages and revels in Schadenfreude but also rewards those who humiliate others, from the ranks of the paparazzi to the gossip bloggers, the late-night comedians, and the Web ‘entrepreneurs’ who profit from clandestine videos.”
She wrote that she has had trouble getting a job and is still recognized every day. However, she insisted the relationship was consensual. “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,” she wrote then.
However, Lewinsky reexamined that stance in the wake of the #metoo movement. That February 2018 essay was headlined, “Monica Lewinsky: Emerging from ‘the House of Gaslight’ in the Age of #MeToo.”
She wrote, “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.)” She noted, “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.”
She explained, “I was diagnosed several years ago with post-traumatic stress disorder, mainly from the ordeal of having been publicly outed and ostracized back then. My trauma expedition has been long, arduous, painful, and expensive.”
As for Clinton, he has profited from his time out of office, and his net worth is currently estimated to be around $80 million.