Did Bill Clinton Gift Us Donald Trump?

Did Bill Clinton Gift Us Donald Trump?


Leonard Zwelling

Frank Bruni discusses the similarities between the latest incarnation of Bill Clinton and his successor in the Oval Office, Donald Trump. They are both self-pitying narcissists who can never admit to making an error, even twenty years down the line.

Mr. Clinton got angry at NBC interviewer Craig Melvin for daring to challenge him about whether or not he owes Monica Lewinsky an apology. The same could be asked of Donald Trump about a whole raft of women who he obviously mistreated. Both men were married when they committed their dalliances and both tend to get angry when confronted with the truth about their action and their words.

I am afraid that President Clinton has not fared particularly well over the years. I suppose the Clinton Foundation has done a lot of good, but he also did a lot of good for his own bank account and that of his wife. He looks dreadful and I suspect that his age and his heart are not serving him very well right now. He was on the TV to push his new novel, a book he co-wrote with James Patterson, but it should not be forgotten that Mr. Clinton is only the second U.S. President to have been impeached. Perhaps Mr. Trump may be the third, but not yet.

The lesson cannot be lost on anyone. When you make a mistake, own up to it and apologize personally to those you have hurt. And for goodness sake, don’t lie about it.

Mr. Clinton admits that he has never spoken to Ms. Lewinsky since the scandal broke. He ought to. He does owe her an apology for preying on her when she was so young and he was the most powerful person in the world. And a married one at that!

As someone who has made his fair share of mistakes for which I hope I have apologized (but maybe not perfectly), and surely was one upon whom a goodly amount of crap was dumped without a lot of contrition on the part of those who dumped on me, I get the dynamic here. Both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Trump owe a lot of apologies to many who they have harmed with their deeds and their words. I suspect neither will exhibit a whole lot of contrition—now or ever.

Mr. Clinton wrote the book on bad behavior in the late 1990s, just as we have learned did JFK and LBJ during their times in the White House. But they were working in different times and even Clinton didn’t have Twitter.

Bill Clinton owes Monica Lewinsky and the whole nation an apology for not modeling behavior that we expect of our leaders.

So does Donald Trump. Of course, Mr. Trump could salvage it all by acting differently. Not likely.

As my old friend Fred Becker taught me, the leopard doesn’t change his spots until he hears the furrier coming. Of course, Robert Mueller may be the furrier.

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