We’re only two weeks into 2020, and amid more impeachment news by the second, there’s another eyebrow-raising story coming from the Trump entourage. In a new story in Time, Trump senior advisor and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner gave a very candid look inside the White House. Some (many) would say maybe even too candid (way too candid).
While traipsing around the West Wing with his interviewer in tow, Kushner creepily stopped during his White House tour to point out a space that used to be an entrance to the president’s study. The now-plastered doorway, according to Kushner, is where the former intern Monica Lewinsky used to meet Bill Clinton.
"This is where Monica used to come in," Kushner said to the Time reporter. The publication's take on Kushner's tour also harped on the fact that Kushner seems to relish pointing out this particular piece of history to West Wing visitors, which is frankly, pretty gross considering the impact the affair had on Lewinsky’s life.
The relationship between Clinton and then-21-year-old intern Lewinsky came to light in 1998, creating a national scandal that led to Clinton’s impeachment. After the story broke online in January 1998, Lewinsky became tabloid fodder, sparking national interest in the details of her life and the affair. As she said in her 2015 TED Talk, she was swept up into “scandal brought to you by the digital revolution.” She calls herself “patient zero” for losing your reputation in the age of the internet.
But Lewinsky has also remained very candid about the impact this has had on her life, and has devoted much of her time to speaking out against cyberbullying, which makes Kushner’s comments even more disrespectful.
In an interview with Refinery29 as part of her cyberbullying campaign, Lewinsky spoke about the impact of having national scorn heaped on her at such a young age. “It affects you both psychologically and energetically,” she said. “When you're the target, it can be hard to see that you can survive this.”
As part of an administration that seems to take a special kind of pleasure in shaming women with rude words – cc: the president’s repeated use of “nasty” to describe Meghan Markle and Hillary Clinton – and bullying of others, we probably shouldn’t be surprised Kushner takes pleasure in demeaning a brave woman like Lewinsky.