On one hand, it feels like the scandal over President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was a lifetime ago. On the other hand, both Clinton and Lewinsky have been public figures ever since, and they serve as a constant reminder of the biggest scandal of the 1990s.
And that scandal is about to be revisited all over again. In April 2020, Tripp unfortunately passed away from pancreatic cancer. But before she passed, she completed her memoir, A Basket of Deplorables: What I Saw Inside the Clinton White House. Released in December 2020 by Post Hill Press, it includes some amazing revelations about the affair between Lewinsky and Clinton, and The New York Post has published a revealing excerpt.
Here are the biggest revelations about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s affair from Linda Tripp’s memoir.
Monica made a bold move at Bill’s 50th birthday
We know the affair between Clinton and Lewinsky began in mid-1995. But by the time of Bill Clinton’s 50th birthday party in August 1996, Lewinsky was not being coy or careful about it in public.
Tripp describes it Bill’s 50th birthday as “a star-studded bash reminiscent of President John F. Kennedy’s 45th birthday party in 1962 at Madison Square Garden.”
Tripp also claims that Lewinsky confessed to her, “You absolutely won’t believe this, but I squeezed his b**** right in the middle of throngs of people!”
And when looking back at Lewinsky’s bold move, Tripp couldn’t help but draw comparisons to Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy.
Tripp was stunned by the things Monica told her
When the affair first began, Bill Clinton was 49 and Lewinsky was a 22-year-old White House intern. But Tripp claims that Lewinsky’s bold moves started long before Bill’s 50th birthday.
Tripp reveals there was “a thong incident [Lewinsky] had pulled off the year before — she had deliberately bent over so the president could see her, then hiked up her dress to reveal her thong underwear to him.”
As for the 50th birthday party incident, “[Lewinsky] would gush that she had maneuvered into a position to grab his genitals with no one being the wiser, delighted to have given ‘the Big He’ a little love massage,” Tripp writes.
Obviously, the fact that Lewinsky had a nickname for Bill Clinton’s genitals is wild enough. But Lewinsky had other nicknames for Bill (and Hillary) that weren’t nearly as flattering.
Monica had derogatory nicknames for Hillary and Bill
When someone has an affair with a married man, she is naturally going to be opposed to that man’s spouse. So it was downright inevitable that Lewinsky would feel antagonistic toward Hillary Clinton.
Tripp claims that Lewinsky had a derogatory nickname for Hillary after the incident at the birthday party. Lewinsky would make “catty remarks about Hillary, who from that moment on was referred to disdainfully only as ‘the Ba Ba.’”
But this didn’t mean that Bill Clinton was off the hook. Lewinsky would sometimes get mad at the president, and so he earned his own strange nickname.
Tripp reveals that she called him “‘the Big Creep’ — Monica’s pet name for the president when she was mad at him.”
Monica naively believed the Secret Service was clueless
In going to Bill Clinton’s birthday party, Lewinsky was confident about many things. For example, she was confident that she would get a chance to make her move, and confident that the president would enjoy what she was doing.
But she was also confident that the Secret Service had no idea what was going on.
According to Tripp’s memoir, Lewinsky began “questioning their thoroughness given how easily she was able to pull off what she’d done.” Tripp claims Lewinsky said, “Okay, there were tons of people, but still, they are the Secret Service! And they missed it!”
Tripp doubted this right away. “I was fairly certain the protection detail hadn’t missed any of it, but I didn’t mention that. I believe to this day not only that the Secret Service agents witnessed the grope, but also that they were well aware of Monica from day one at the White House, and never lost sight of her right up until the end. These people rarely, if ever, miss anything.”
But Lewinsky’s belief that all of this was meant to be emboldened her belief that a true relationship with Bill Clinton was just around the corner… even though the signs were there that this would never happen.
Bill seemed to have trouble remembering Monica’s name
It should have been obvious from the start that Lewinsky was taking the affair more seriously than Bill Clinton. But, star-struck, she ignored some pretty big warning signs.
Tripp’s memoir reveals a president that was very checked out of the affair.
“[Lewinsky] had only had a handful of sexual encounters with the president. She even told me once that she had to remind him of her name; she had the impression he had forgotten it in the six weeks since their last encounter. Yet, to her, this was a romance.”
We get an image here of a busy man whose affair was just one more thing he was juggling. But tragically, Lewinsky actually thought that they would have a serious future together!
Monica fantasized of a real relationship
It’s hard to read this memoir and not be struck by the naivete of Monica Lewinsky. She doesn’t come across as manipulative or conniving. Instead, she comes across as a young woman who decided to take her shot with the man she loved, no matter how ill-advised it was.
Tripp claims Lewinsky loved her “secret romance” with Clinton. And even when there were long periods between physical encounters or communications, Lewinsky “was convinced she had found her special man and they were meant to be together.”
Considering how much the scandal derailed Lewinsky’s life compared to how little it derailed Bill Clinton’s life, the entire affair seems more and more like a tragedy.