Monica Lewinsky Thinks Bill Clinton Should Want to Apologize for Their Affair



Getty ImagesPaul Bruinooge

Monica Lewinsky penned a poignant and revealing essay for Vanity Fair Tuesday, in which she addressed the scandal that forever changed her life.

Following their affair in 1998, when Bill Clinton was President and Lewinsky was a White House intern, Clinton was almost impeached and forced to issue a public apology. But 20 years later, Lewinsky says she never got the apology she wanted.

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In the essay, Lewinsky shared that she felt like she had taken responsibility for her part in the affair on numerous occasions.

She writes:

“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 Walterson March 3, 1999—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. I know I would do this, because I have done it in other difficult situations related to 1998. I have also written letters apologizing to others—including some who also wronged me gravely. I believe that when we are trapped by our inability to evolve, by our inability to empathize humbly and painfully with others, then we remain victims ourselves.”

Clinton’s public apology, below, felt forced.

“So, 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 writes. “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.”

Lewinsky writes post #MeToo, Clinton finally had to answer the kind of questions she’d had to answer her whole adult life:

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“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.” It wasn’t until June, Lewinsky notes, that Clinton was asked by NBC News reporter Craig Melvin if he owed her an apology.

“I have not talked to her, but I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry,” he said on the Today show. That’s very different. The apology was public.”

Lewinsky is reflecting on her experience ahead of the release of a new documentary, The Clinton Affair, which will air Sunday on A&E, and which she participated in.


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