If you ask a group of Americans what name comes to mind when the words “philanderer” and “president” are mentioned together, I’d be willing to wager the most common response, by far, will be Bill Clinton.
Consider how impressive that is. JFK reportedly bedded Marilyn Monroe, among many, many others who weren’t Jackie Kennedy. Warren Harding had an illegitimate child and Grover Cleveland allegedly had one, too. Even among some of his most ardent fans, the common joke I heard told about Donald Trump was that he believed in family values so ardently that he’s had three of them.
There’s a reason for this. Not only is Clinton known for serial dalliances with a retinue of women who don’t have the given name Hillary, there’s a certain creepiness to his extracurricular activities.
The most famous of these, obviously, involved a White House intern young enough to be his daughter — who the White House and its surrogates promptly threw under the bus as a fame-hungry fabulist until DNA from a certain blue dress torpedoed that line. It gets darker than that, though, with the former president’s links to sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein and several credible accusations of sexual misconduct before and during his time in the White House.
And yet again, we may be on the cusp of welcoming this scourge to decency back into public life; as it becomes clear 79-year-old President Joe Biden is senescent and unelectable, there are calls yet again to (sigh) get Hillary back into the mix. Apparently, in some pundits’ minds, unelectable but unsenescent will do in 2024 — and that means Slick Willy will yet again be mounting a campaign to become first gentleman.
With that in mind, let Bill Maher remind you why this is a terrible idea by telling you about the time then-President Clinton allegedly chatted with Maher about global trade so he could feel his date up for five minutes.
Maher told the story on an episode of his “Club Random” podcast last week.
The HBO host told his guest, comic Cedric the Entertainer, that he was “invited, I remember, a number of times to a Clinton event when he was out on the West Coast, I introduced him a couple of times.”
In this case, it was in Seattle, at a meeting of the World Trade Organization, which Maher called “really dull s***.”
This, it’s worth noting, would likely make it the 1999 meeting of the supranational organization, which wasn’t entirely dull excrement; while no period news stories mention Maher’s presence, that’s probably because the majority of reporting was focused on the riots surrounding the event that arguably served as a catalyst for the Occupy movement in the subsequent decade.
However, Maher said he thought it was “the boringest s***,” and Cedric agreed: “Yeah, like you know, ‘yes, we’ll let you bring the f***ing Kia into our country.'”
Anyhow, Maher recalled how “this is the 90s, when I was a swinging bachelor, so I brought this young lady on a date.” The cable host, it’s again worth noting, has never been married. He still tries to play the swinging bachelor role 20 years later: “I’m the last of my guy friends to have never gotten married, and their wives — they don’t want them playing with me. I’m like the escaped slave — I bring news of freedom,” he once bragged on his website.
However, that’s an interesting take — because in Seattle, President Clinton reportedly provided Maher with an object lesson in why the bonds of matrimony aren’t necessarily shackles, at least for some. He recalled how he was in a line for a meet-and-greet with the president with “this beautiful girl,” where most people got just a few seconds with the prez.
“We get up to there, and she stands on one side of Clinton and I’m on the other side of him,” Maher said. The comedian then said he was glad Clinton was representing the country at the WTO, since this was the kind of thing that bored him.
“And he spent the next five minutes looking me in the eye and lecturing me … why world trade was important and blah blah blah blah,” Maher said. “We get off the line and I said to the girl, ‘Wow! Can you believe that he spent five minutes telling me about trade? Everybody else he talked to for two seconds.’
“She said: ‘Yeah, he was rubbing my back the whole time.'”
WARNING: The following video contains graphic language that some viewers will find offensive.
Bill, you old cad. Of course, this alleged incident of inappropriate touching was done without consent, but it’s not like a stink was raised by the media. After all, they didn’t believe Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick or the numerous other women who accused Clinton of non-consensual sexual behavior.
The fact both these men are laughing it off is indicative of how low our collective standards are for William Jefferson Clinton, even if you don’t believe the more disturbing allegations and rumors surrounding the nation’s 42nd president.
In the 2020 Hulu documentary series “Hillary,” Clinton’s description of why he decided to pursue a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a 24-year-old White House intern less than half his age, raised some eyebrows — particularly given the #MeToo movement’s focus on the questionable nature of workplace relationships with massively skewed power dynamics.
“You feel like you’re staggering around, you’ve been in a 15-round prize fight that was extended to 30 rounds and here’s something that will take your mind off it for a while, that’s what happens,” Clinton said, when explaining his reasons for the affair.
“Because there, whatever life — not just me. Everybody’s life has pressures and disappointments, terrors, fears of whatever,” he said. “Things I did to manage my anxieties for years. I’m a different, totally different person than I was, a lot of that stuff 20 years ago.”
He insisted this was “not a defense, it’s an explanation.”
Meanwhile, if you want to get to the creepier end of the scale, there was Clinton’s association with Jeffrey Epstein.
Clinton has insisted his only contact with Epstein was to get access to the billionaire sex trafficker’s private plane for foreign, post-presidency trips. However, flight logs indicated he was on the plane — dubbed the “Lolita Express” for reasons you can probably guess at — far more often than initially reported.
In addition, an eyewitness report placed Clinton on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean — dubbed “Orgy Island,” again for reasons you can surmise — with “two young girls,” according to a statement in unsealed court documents from alleged Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre. Another individual, who maintained communications on the private island, also said Clinton visited.
There are even credible allegations Clinton was having an affair with Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s girlfriend and convicted procurer.
Sure, Maher’s anecdote may elicit some laughs. The prospect — however remote — of him returning to the White House isn’t so funny, however.
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