A guide to the allegations of Bill Clinton’s womanizing
A photograph showing former White House intern Monica Lewinsky meeting President Bill Clinton at a White House function submitted as evidence in documents by the Kenneth Starr investigation and released by the House Judiciary Committee in 1998. (Getty Images)
On Twitter, Donald Trump, the GOP presidential front-runner, lashed out at Hillary Clinton, directly attacking her husband, the former president, for what Trump called “his terrible record of women abuse.”
Trump is obviously referring to the sexual allegations that have long swirled around Clinton, even before he became president. We’d earlier explored this question in 2014 when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrongly claimed that a half dozen women had called Clinton a “sexual predator.” But for younger voters who may be wondering what the fuss is about, here again is a guide to the various claims made about Clinton’s sex life.
We will divide the stories into two parts: consensual liaisons admitted by the women in question and allegations of an unwanted sexual encounter.
Gennifer Flowers — a model and actress whose claims of a long-term affair nearly wrecked Clinton’s first run for the presidency in 1992. (Clinton denied her claims at the time, but under oath in 1998 he acknowledged a sexual encounter with her.)
Monica Lewinsky — intern at the White House, whose affair with Clinton fueled impeachment charges. This was a consensual affair, in which Lewinsky was an eager participant; she was 22 when the affair started and Clinton was her boss.
Dolly Kyle Browning — A high school friend who said in a sworn declaration that she had had a 22-year off-and-on sexual relationship with Clinton.
Elizabeth Ward Gracen — a former Miss America who said she had a one-night stand with Clinton while he was governor — and she was married. She went public to specifically deny reports he had forced himself on her.
Myra Belle “Sally” Miller — the 1958 Miss Arkansas who said in 1992 that she had had an affair with Clinton in 1983. She claimed that she had been warned not to go public by a Democratic Party official: “They knew that I went jogging by myself and he couldn’t guarantee what would happen to my pretty little legs.”
Some might argue that because Lewinsky and Gracen had relations when Clinton was in a position of executive authority, Clinton engaged in sexual harassment.
Allegations of an unwanted sexual encounter
Paula Jones — A former Arkansas state employee who alleged that in 1991 Clinton, while governor, propositioned her and exposed himself. She later filed a sexual harassment suit, and it was during a deposition in that suit that Clinton initially denied having sexual relations with Lewinsky. Clinton in 1998 settled the suit for $850,000, with no apology or admission of guilt. All but $200,000 was directed to pay legal fees.
Juanita Broaddrick — The nursing home administrator emerged after the impeachment trial to allege that 21 years earlier Clinton had raped her. Clinton flatly denied the claim, and there were inconsistencies in her story. No charges were ever brought.
Kathleen Willey — The former White House aide claimed Clinton groped her in his office in 1993, on the same day when her husband, facing embezzlement charges, died in an apparent suicide. (Her story changed over time. During a deposition in the Paula Jones matter, she initially said she had no recollection about whether Clinton kissed her and insisted he did not fondle her.) Clinton denied her account, and the independent prosecutor concluded “there is insufficient evidence to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that President Clinton’s testimony regarding Kathleen Willey was false.” Willey later began to claim Clinton had a hand in her husband’s death, even though her husband left behind a suicide note.
Note that no court of law ever found Clinton guilty of the accusations.
Peter Baker, in “The Breach,” the definitive account of the impeachment saga, reported that House investigators later found in the files of the independent prosecutor that Jones’s lawyers had collected the names of 21 different women they suspected had had a sexual relationship with Clinton. Baker described the files as “wild allegations, sometimes based on nothing more than hearsay claims of third-party witnesses.” But there were some allegations (page 138) that suggested unwelcome advances:
“One woman was alleged to have been asked by Clinton to give him oral sex in a car while he was the state attorney general (a claim she denied). A former Arkansas state employee said that during a presentation, then-Governor Clinton walked behind her and rubbed his pelvis up against her repeatedly. A woman identified as a third cousin of Clinton’s supposedly told her drug counselor during treatment in Arkansas that she was abused by Clinton when she was baby-sitting at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock.”
The Bottom Line
Trump’s claim is a bit too vague for a fact check. In any case, we imagine readers will have widely divergent reactions to this list of admitted affairs and unproven allegations of unwanted sexual encounters. But at least you now know the specific cases that Trump is referencing.