The Incredible Callousness of Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Whenever Bill Clinton opens his mouth to speak publicly about his affair with Monica Lewinsky in the 1990s, he inevitably ends up saying something astonishingly tone-deaf. His latest attempt to discuss the scandal is no exception: In an appearance in a forthcoming documentary, Clinton suggests he pursued the affair with Lewinsky — a 22-year-old White House intern during his presidency — to help “manage [his] anxieties.”

Clinton, 73, offers this explanation in Hillary, the four-part Hulu docuseries about Hillary Clinton’s political career, scheduled to release tomorrow. Describing his years in the White House, Clinton says he felt like a boxer who had “been in a 15-round prize fight that was extended to 30 rounds.” So when the opportunity to have an affair with an intern presented itself, he thought, “Here’s something that will take your mind off it for a while.”

“Things I did to manage my anxieties for years,” he continues. “I’m a different, totally different person than I was, a lot of that stuff 20 years ago.”

In the docuseries, Clinton repeats much of what he’s said about the affair in the past, reiterating how much he regrets the pain that it caused him and his family. He goes on to say he “[feels] terrible about the fact that Monica Lewinsky’s life was defined by it,” but later insinuates that she could leave it in her past if she wanted to. “Over the years I’ve watched her trying to get a normal life back again, but you’ve got to decide how to define normal.”

However, leaving the affair in the past hasn’t always been an option for Lewinsky. At a conference in late 2018, an Israeli TV news anchor asked Lewinsky about the affair, despite her request beforehand that they avoid the subject. And every time Clinton opens his mouth to tell his side of events, it’s only a matter of time before Lewinsky is asked to weigh in.

The Incredible Callousness of Bill Clinton