By Stefan M. Kløvning
Washington, Politics – ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman,’ Bill Clinton insisted in 1998 after the Drudge Report revealed ex-president Bill Clinton having had an affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky, who at the time was 27 years younger than the president. The scandal caused a lengthy investigation which eventually led to Clinton being the second president, after Andrew Johnson in 1868, to ever have been impeached in the United States, and chose to fight the impeachment rather than resign voluntarily (as Nixon did in 1974). Since then, he has never apologized privately to Lewinsky, and on June 4, 20 years later, he informed in an interview for NBC that he wouldn’t do anything differently even if the #MeToo movement had as much momentum then as it has today. He also claimed that he had ‘done the right thing’ in the aftermath of the scandal and that a lot of the facts had been willingly omitted from the reportage.
His impeachment was not based on the affair in itself, but rather due to providing false testimony in the investigation and allegedly influencing Lewinsky’s testimony as obstruction of justice and perjury. The House of Representatives used 14 hours to debate before approving of the impeachment articles against Clinton. She wasn’t the only one. Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers also had ‘sordid entanglements’ Clinton, according to Vanity Fair.
According to Lewinsky, nine sexual encounters occurred between herself and Clinton took place between November 1995 and March 1997. The Drudge Report reported Clinton to be the ‘love of her life,’ but later, Lewinsky seems to have gotten another perspective of the former president. On 25 February, Lewinsky published an essay for Vanity Fair looking back on the incidence in the ‘age of #MeToo,’ where she spoke of the event:
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.)
In other words, Clinton isn’t guilty of having sexually assaulted Lewinsky, but the affairs ‘constituted a gross abuse of power’ according to her. Clinton doesn’t seem to think so, but he publically acknowledged for the National Prayer Breakfast in 1998 that he had ‘sinned.’ Looking back, he stands firmly by the decision to have stayed in office, claiming to have defended the constitution, and that 2/3 of the American public still supported him after the scandal. He has been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct on other occasions too, but also of sexually assaulting Juanita Broaddrick in her hotel room in the late 1970s.