Bill Clinton issues 2nd non-apology to clean up Monica Lewinsky mess

  • Clinton rocked the political world during the 1990s when he was forced to admit an affair with young White House intern Monica Lewinsky
  • Now he insists he doesn't owe her a face-to-face apology for turning her life upside down and subjecting her to international ridicule
  • Former president said Monday that he's a victim of his own transgressions since he was $16 million in debt when he left the White House
  • Hours after making a giant mess of his book tour, Clinton doubled down during a Harlem event
  • He insisted he had issued a blanket mea culpa for 'what caused all the trouble for me' in the 1990s – without mentioning the trouble it caused Lewinsky
  • Clinton also said he's a #MeToo backer despite accusations of sexual misconduct against him 

By David Martosko, Us Political Editor For Dailymail.com

Published: 09:33 EDT, 5 June 2018 | Updated: 10:06 EDT, 5 June 2018

Former president Bill Clinton doubled down Monday night on his view that he doesn't owe Monica Lewinsky a person-to-person apology for taking advantage of her when she was a White House intern.

He said during a book-tour event in Harlem, as he had the day before in an interview broadcast on NBC, that the blanket mea culpa he offered in 1998 should have been enough.

'The suggestion was that I never apologized for what caused all the trouble for me 20 years ago,' Clinton said Monday night – not mentioning the trouble it caused Lewinsky.

'I did,' he said. 'I meant it then, I meant it now. I apologized 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 did that. I meant it then and I mean it today. I live with it all the time.' 

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Former president Bill Clinton doubled down Monday night on his insistence that his 1990s blanket apology to Monica Lewinsky was enough, and that he's already said he's sorry 'what caused all the trouble for me' in the 1990s ¿ without mentioning the trouble it caused her
Former president Bill Clinton doubled down Monday night on his insistence that his 1990s blanket apology to Monica Lewinsky was enough, and that he's already said he's sorry 'what caused all the trouble for me' in the 1990s ¿ without mentioning the trouble it caused her

Former president Bill Clinton doubled down Monday night on his insistence that his 1990s blanket apology to Monica Lewinsky was enough, and that he's already said he's sorry 'what caused all the trouble for me' in the 1990s – without mentioning the trouble it caused her

Clinton said in an NBC interview airing Monday that he's never personally apologized to Lewinsky for how their sexual affair turned her life upside down ¿ and he doesn't owe it to her
Clinton said in an NBC interview airing Monday that he's never personally apologized to Lewinsky for how their sexual affair turned her life upside down ¿ and he doesn't owe it to her

Clinton said in an NBC interview airing Monday that he's never personally apologized to Lewinsky for how their sexual affair turned her life upside down – and he doesn't owe it to her

The former president carried on a lengthy affair with Lewinsky, often trysting with her just steps from the Oval Office
The former president carried on a lengthy affair with Lewinsky, often trysting with her just steps from the Oval Office

The former president carried on a lengthy affair with Lewinsky, often trysting with her just steps from the Oval Office

Clinton was referring to the 1998 National Prayer Breakfast, where he said he was sorry for the affair that nearly ended his political career.

He mentioned Lewinsky and her family at the time, plus 'my family, my friends, my staff, my cabinet.'

On Monday night the former president painted himself as a supporter of the #MeToo movement, a public groundswell of women who have come forward to tell their stories of sexual abuse and harassment at the hands of powerful men.

At least four women maintain such accusations against Clinton, including one, Juanita Broaddrick, who claims he raped her decads ago in an Arkansas hotel room while he was the state's married governor.

'I support the Me Too movement,' he said, adding that he believes 'it is long overdue.'

'And I have always tried to support it in the decisions and policies that I advanced. Beyond that, I think it would be good if we could go on with the discussion' about his book. 

Lewinsky's adult life has been defined by Bill Clinton's successful sexual advances and the global scrutiny that followed. But Clinton's new book, co-authored with fiction writer James Patterson, has him engaged for the first time in a no-apologies tour about his past conquests.

'No I do not' owe her an apology, he told NBC in an interview airing Monday on the 'Today' show. 'I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry.'

'I apologized to everybody in the world,' Clinton said, implying that was enough.

Her too: Lewinsky has emerged as an anti-bullying activist and now says Clinton engaged in a 'gross abuse of power' by seducing her
Her too: Lewinsky has emerged as an anti-bullying activist and now says Clinton engaged in a 'gross abuse of power' by seducing her

Her too: Lewinsky has emerged as an anti-bullying activist and now says Clinton engaged in a 'gross abuse of power' by seducing her

Clinton is now on a book tour with co-author James Patterson but got pointed questions from NBC in an interview that aired Monday morning
Clinton is now on a book tour with co-author James Patterson but got pointed questions from NBC in an interview that aired Monday morning

Clinton is now on a book tour with co-author James Patterson but got pointed questions from NBC in an interview that aired Monday morning

The flustered former president, more famous for his Don Juan-like seductions than for his policy legacy, portrayed himself, not Lewinsky, as history's victim in the mass-media's retelling of the 1990s saga.

'A lot of the facts have been omitted to make the story work,' he declared, 'I think partly because they're frustrated that they got all these serious allegations against the current occupant of the Oval Office and his voters don't seem to care.'

And Clinton complained in the interview that he left the presidency financially ruined because of the costs associated with the legal consequences of his actions.

'Nobody believes that I got out of that for free,' he said. 'I left the White House $16 million in debt,'

He's worth about $80 million today, aided by an aggressive schedule of speaking events – many of which paid him six-figure fees for individual appearances. 

In a March essay for Vanity Fair magazine, Lewinsky wrote that 'what transpired between Bill Clinton and myself was not sexual assault, although we now recognize that it constituted a gross abuse of power.' 

Clinton, pictured denying his May-December affair when he was president, was already noted at the time for his lothario habits
Clinton, pictured denying his May-December affair when he was president, was already noted at the time for his lothario habits

Clinton, pictured denying his May-December affair when he was president, was already noted at the time for his lothario habits

But decades later, she's still traumatized by the aftermath of being identifed globally as the your woman the President of the United States kept on the side and used for his own pleasure just a few feet from the Oval Office.

'I’m sorry to say I don’t have a definitive answer yet on the meaning of all of the events that led to the 1998 investigation,' Lewinsky wrote of the public humiliation that played out in seeming slow motion.

'I am unpacking and reprocessing what happened to me. Over and over and over again.'

Clinton is launching a book tour to promote 'The President is Missing,' a fictional political thriller co-written with the famed author James Patterson.

He accused interviewed Craig Melvin of 'ignor[ing] gaping facts in describing this, and I bet you don't know you don't know them.'

'This was litigated 20 years ago. Two-thirds of the American people sided with me.'

Lewinsky is pictured on September 21, 1998 meeting with then-president Bill Clinton at a White House function
Lewinsky is pictured on September 21, 1998 meeting with then-president Bill Clinton at a White House function

Lewinsky is pictured on September 21, 1998 meeting with then-president Bill Clinton at a White House function

If he were president today, he said later, his most famous extramarital affair wouldn't 'be an issue, because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts.'

Patterson, too, defended Clinton – by comparing his sexual affairs in office with those of two preceding Democratic presidents.

'It's 20 years ago, come on!' he blasted Melvin. 'Let's talk about JFK. Let's talk about, you know, LBJ. Stop already!'

Clinton piled on.

'You think President Kennedy should have resigned? Do you believe President Johnson should have resigned? Someone should ask you these questions because of the way you formulate the questions,' he jabbed. 'I dealt with it 20 years ago, plus.'

Suddenly philosophical and seeming to take a longer view of history, Clinton said: 'I have tried to do a good job since then with my life and with my work. That's all I have to say to you.'

Bill and Monica: A look back at the 1998 Lewinsky scandal that almost felled a president

President Bill Clinton
President Bill Clinton
Monica Lewinsky
Monica Lewinsky

President Bill Clinton (left) nearly lost his presidency over an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky (right)

In 1998 a news report emerged claiming that then-President Bill Clinton had had an affair with Monica Lewinsky while she was a White House intern.

At the time the trysting began in November 1995, Clinton was 49 years old and Lewinsky was 22.

Clinton would initially deny having sexual relations with Lewinsky, claiming in a January 1998 deposition that the two were never alone together in the White House.

Unknown to Clinton, however, Lewinsky had already revealed the details of the affair to her friend Linda Tripp, saying there were nine sexual encounters through March of 1997; several included oral sex and at least one involved Clinton penetrating her with a cigar.

Tripp and Lewinsky became friends at the Pentagon, where Lewinsky was transferred after White House aides became suspicious of her long visits to the Oval Office.

The Clinton-Lewinsky affair became public a day after Clinton's sworn testimony, when Tripp gave Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr tapes of Lewinsky admitting to her relationship with the president.

Monica Lewinsky emerged from her sex scandal with PTSD from the media pressure, but later became an author and an anti-bullying advocate
Monica Lewinsky emerged from her sex scandal with PTSD from the media pressure, but later became an author and an anti-bullying advocate

Monica Lewinsky emerged from her sex scandal with PTSD from the media pressure, but later became an author and an anti-bullying advocate

Starr was tasked with unwinding the Whitewater real estate scandal, which led him to Clinton's alleged sexual harassment of Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee.

Clinton continued to deny reports that he had been intimate with the brunette from Beverly Hills, even after news accounts were published.

'I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,' he said in a nationally televised press conference.

He admitted months later that the accusations were accurate, but claimed that his definition of 'sexual relations' differed from others'.

'I know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression. I misled people, including even my wife,' he said at the time. 'I deeply regret that.'

'Indeed I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.'

Clinton, now 71, has since been accused of sexual harassment and assault by at least four other women, one of whom claims he raped her in an Arkansas hotel room when he was governor.

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr investigated the Lewinsky scandal and found that Clinton had 'misused his authority and power' to impede investigations into it
Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr investigated the Lewinsky scandal and found that Clinton had 'misused his authority and power' to impede investigations into it

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr investigated the Lewinsky scandal and found that Clinton had 'misused his authority and power' to impede investigations into it

He was impeached in 1998 on charges of lying under oath and obstruction of justice. The Senate acquitted him along party lines, with no Democrats casting 'guilty' votes.

At the time, Americans' views on the impeachment proceedings were seen as a political Rorschach test.

Republicans castigated Clinton for carrying on an affair with Lewinsky and lying about it both publicly and under oath.

Democrats saw the episode as an attack on their party's young, fresh face, waged over personal weaknesses instead of policy.

Following weeks of televised testimony, polls showed that two-thirds of Americans opposed removing Clinton from office.

But the remaining one-third had a new voice in the form of conservative media emboldened by The Drudge Report, the news aggregation website that broke the Lewinsky scandal – and accused Newsweek and other outlets of burying it for Clinton's political benefit.

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