Tripp has a quiet life in Northern Virginia horse country, avoiding the public attention that was so unwelcome in the late 1990s. But the unending flow of headlines about the bad behavior of powerful men, she says, “is forcing me to relive a lot of it.” She’s unconvinced by recent calls in the press for Clinton’s deeds to be reconsidered in a more critical light. “They have nothing to lose, and this is now permissible,” she says. “The fact that the Clintons are dead in the water gives [the media] tacit approval to act like human beings. . . . It’s disingenuous.”
She finds it particularly galling to hear former Clinton defenders attributing their latter-day awakening to evolving social mores. In a November 16 interview with the New York Times, New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand said that she now believes that Bill Clinton should have resigned because of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. “Things have changed,” she said.
“What information do they have at their fingertips today that they didn’t have 20 years ago?” Tripp asks. “What information has changed?”
There were people back then—Linda Tripp, for instance—who reflexively knew that when a president of the United States repeatedly summons a star-struck young White House intern to sexually service him, it is more than a private romantic dalliance. “I’m so weary of hearing that society’s mores have changed,” she says, “when I knew that this was an abuse of, essentially, a kid.”
The record would seem to support Tripp’s assessment of the relationship. Lewinsky’s grand jury appearance revealed that between November 1995 and March 1997, she met the president furtively in a hallway, a bathroom, and, once, while he talked on the phone with a member of Congress. They had six sexual encounters before they shared any meaningful conversation. “I asked him why he doesn’t ask me any questions about myself,” she said, “and . . . is this just about sex . . . or do you have some interest in trying to get to know me as a person?”
Read the whole thing. It’s harsh … and it’s correct.