Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, whose affair with President Bill Clinton lead to his impeachment in the US Senate, has broken her long silence in the media.
In Vanity Fair magazine, Monica Lewinsky, now 40, writes that she deeply regrets the fling.
President Bill Clinton “took advantage” of her, Monica Lewinsky writes, though she describes their relationship as consensual.
In 1998, Republicans failed in their effort to oust him from office on the grounds he had lied about the affair.
With Hillary Clinton said to be mulling a 2016 run for the presidency, the Lewinsky matter has remerged in US political discourse, in part because Republicans are eager to wield it against her.
In an advance excerpt of the article released by Vanity Fair, Monica Lewinsky writes she hopes to reclaim her story and says she is still recognized every day and sees her name thrown about in pop culture and the news media.
“I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton,” Monica Lewinsky writes.
“Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”
Monica Lewinsky writes that she suffered abuse and humiliation after the scandal broke in 1998, in part because she was made a “scapegoat” to protect the president.
“The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me,” she wrote.
“And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power.”
Arguing Bill Clinton had lied to federal investigators about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, who was in her early 20s, the Republicans in the House of Representatives impeached the president, essentially bringing him up on charges in the Senate to determine whether he could be expelled from office.
That effort failed, and Bill Clinton served in the White House until his term ended in 2000.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, went on to be elected US senator and to serve as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, and is currently tipped as a frontrunner for the Democratic 2016 presidential nomination.
The Republicans have indicated recently that Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky will be fair game should Hillary Clinton indeed run.
Republican Senator Rand Paul – also tipped to run for the presidency in 2016 – said this year that “bosses shouldn’t prey on young interns in their office”.
Bill Clinton “took advantage of a girl that was 20-years-old and an intern in his office”, Rand Paul added.
“There is no excuse for that and that is predatory behavior.”
In her piece, Monica Lewinsky signals that her desire in breaking her silence after so many years is to “give a purpose” to her past.
“Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation,” she writes.
Monica Lewinsky now aims “to get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums”.
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