The New York Times Sunday headline reads: “How Hillary Clinton Grappled With Bill Clinton’s Infidelity, and His Accusers.” But if you read the article, it turns out that “grappling” with this uncomfortable topic meant “trying to destroy the accusers.”
Confronting a spouse’s unfaithfulness is painful under any circumstance. For Mrs. Clinton, it happened repeatedly and in the most public of ways, unfolding at the dawn of the 24/7 news cycle, and later in impeachment proceedings that convulsed the nation.
Outwardly, she remained stoic and defiant, defending her husband while a progression of women and well-funded conservative operatives accused Mr. Clinton of behavior unbecoming the leader of the free world.
But privately, she embraced the Clinton campaign’s aggressive strategy of counterattack: Women who claimed to have had sexual encounters with Mr. Clinton would become targets of digging and discrediting — tactics that women’s rights advocates frequently denounce.
The campaign hired a private investigator with a bare-knuckles reputation who embarked on a mission, as he put it in a memo, to impugn Ms. Flowers’s “character and veracity until she is destroyed beyond all recognition.”
A campaign aide said that Hillary Clinton participated in the decision to hire Jack Palladino, “a private investigator known for tactics such as making surreptitious recordings and deploying attractive women to extract information”:
An aide to the campaign, who declined to be publicly identified because the aide had not been authorized to speak for the Clintons, said Mrs. Clinton was among those who had discussed and approved the hiring, which shifted the campaign to a more aggressive posture.
. . . .
“Every acquaintance, employer, and past lover should be located and interviewed,” Mr. Palladino wrote. “She is now a shining icon — telling lies that so far have proved all benefit and no cost — for any other opportunist who may be considering making Clinton a target.”
Challenge Bill and this is what will happen to you. Nasty stuff, and Hillary was fully on board. And it wasn’t just Gennifer Flowers whom she helped to attack:
[T]heir first taste of trouble came in a Penthouse magazine story by a rock groupie named Connie Hamzy, who claimed Mr. Clinton had once propositioned her at a hotel in Little Rock, Ark.
Mr. Clinton brushed off the story, saying that Ms. Hamzy had made a sexual advance toward him, George Stephanopoulos, the communications director of the 1992 campaign, recalled in his book, “All Too Human.”
But Mrs. Clinton demanded action.
“We have to destroy her story,” she said, according to Mr. Stephanopoulos.
There’s much more they could have delved into. If Donald Trump’s tax returns from 1995 are news in 2016 — and they are — then certainly Hillary Clinton’s treatment of her husband’s accusers in the late 90s is relevant too.