speaking out
November 13, 2018

Former President Bill Clinton doesn't think he owes Monica Lewinsky an apology, but Lewinsky says he would be a better man if he offered one.

Lewinsky penned an essay in Vanity Fair this week ahead of the premiere of The Clinton Affair, a new A&E documentary premiering Nov. 18 for which she gave 20 hours worth of detailed interviews. In the essay, Lewinsky references the fact that Bill Clinton has never apologized to her privately; he said earlier this year he doesn't owe her an apology. Lewinsky writes that she is "disappointed for him" because "he would be a better man" if he apologized to her. "What feels more important to me than whether I am owed or deserving of a personal apology is my belief that Bill Clinton should want to apologize," she says.

Lewinsky also says that if she were to run into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in person, she would tell her "how very sorry I am." Clinton last month argued that her husband's affair with Lewinsky was not an abuse of power because Lewinsky was "an adult." Lewinsky was a 22-year-old White House intern at the time of the affair, and she has since said that Clinton abused his power over her.

The former president's actions have come under increased scrutiny in light of the #MeToo movement, and Lewinsky in her essay criticizes the fact that he was able to avoid tough questions about his behavior for so long. "If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn't want to answer," she writes. Read more at Vanity Fair.

Brendan Morrow

September 17, 2018

In the afterword for the paperback version of her book What Happened, Hillary Clinton writes that "our democracy is in crisis," and President Trump and "his cronies do so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track."

With the paperback version out Tuesday, The Atlantic published an adaptation of the afterword on Sunday night. In it, Clinton argues that Trump's flurry of outrages "may be the point — to confound us, so it's harder to keep our eye on the ball. The ball, of course, is protecting American democracy." Trump "promised to 'drain the swamp,'" she said, so "it's amazing how blithely the president and his Cabinet have piled up conflicts of interest, abuses of power, and blatant violations of ethics rules," not to mention attacks on truth itself.

Trump is also undermining "the national unity that makes democracy possible," Clinton writes, citing his comments about Mexican immigrants and NFL players who choose to kneel. Trump "doesn't even try to pretend he's a president for all Americans," she said, adding that nothing Trump says is "a mark of authenticity or a refreshing break from political correctness. Hate speech isn't 'telling it like it is.' It's just hate."

This is all a long time coming, Clinton said, as the "assault on our democracy didn't start with this election." It started with billionaires like the Koch brothers and Mercer family, "who spent a lot of time and money building an alternative reality where science is denied, lies masquerade as truth, and paranoia flourishes." To fight back, people must vote in the midterms, and "when the dust settles, we have to do some serious housecleaning." Congress passed reforms after Watergate, and "we're going to need a similar process" post-Trump, Clinton said. She suggests that all presidential candidates be required by law to release tax returns, and the process for elections be improved and protected. Read more at The Atlantic. Catherine Garcia

September 13, 2018

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló pushed back against detractors of a report that found nearly 3,000 people died on the island because of Hurricane Maria.

On Twitter Thursday morning, Trump claimed without any evidence that "3,000 people did not die" from Hurricanes Maria and Irma last year, and that the number was inflated "by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico."

The official death toll of nearly 3,000 is from a study that Rosselló commissioned, conducted by George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health. "We went through a rigorous scientific process, we externalized the investigation so that it was an independent investigation," Rosselló told CBS News, adding, "Neither the people of Puerto Rico nor the victims deserve their pain to be questioned."

Relief efforts are still underway on the island, and Rosselló said it's "evident that the treatment that was given to, say, Florida or Texas was very different than the treatment given in Puerto Rico. We are second-class U.S. citizens, we live in a colonial territory, it is time to eliminate that and I implore all the elected officials, particularly now in midterm elections, to have a firm stance." People are either "for colonial territories or against them," he added. "You're either for giving equal rights to the U.S. citizens that live in Puerto Rico or you're against it." Catherine Garcia

August 5, 2018

In her first message to supporters since overdosing on July 24, pop singer Demi Lovato wrote on Sunday that her fans' "positive thoughts and prayers have helped me navigate through this difficult time."

Lovato was at her home in Los Angeles when she overdosed from an opioid, and was rushed to Cedars-Sinai hospital, where she's remained ever since. Lovato, who had been sober for six years, said she has "always been transparent about my journey with addiction. What I've learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet."

Lovato shared that she is taking time out to "heal and focus on my sobriety and road to recovery. The love you have all shown me will never be forgotten and I look forward to the day where I can say I came out on the other side. I will keep fighting." Catherine Garcia

June 18, 2018

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is calling on the White House to "end the cruel, tragic separation of families" at the border, saying the policy is "not consistent with our values."

In a statement released Monday evening, Murkowski said that the "thousands of children taken from their parents and families must be reunited as quickly as possible and be treated humanely while immigration proceedings are pending." There is no need for a "policy designed to separate families, particularly mothers with young children, without a clear process and focus on the needs of the children," she added. "To blame previous administrations for a wrong committed today is not acceptable."

Murkowski is also "troubled that those seeking asylum are being turned away before they even have the opportunity to file their papers." If Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen can't "fix this and fast," she said, "we in Congress must." Catherine Garcia

June 18, 2018

Former first lady Laura Bush is criticizing the Trump administration's policy of separating parents accused of illegally crossing the border from their children, and believes the United States government "should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores" and "tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso."

In an op-ed for The Washington Post published Sunday night, Bush noted that as someone living in Texas, a border state, she can "appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart." From April 19 to May 31, the Department of Homeland Security sent nearly 2,000 children to mass detention centers or foster care, and Bush said photos that have emerged showing kids at these detention centers are "eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history."

People of all political stripes "agree that our immigration system isn't working," she continued, "but the injustice of zero tolerance is not the answer." Bush believes Americans have "an obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place," and is certain that the country can "find a kinder, more compassionate, and even moral answer" to the crisis. Read the entire op-ed at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

May 29, 2018

In response to Roseanne Barr's racist tweet about her, Valerie Jarrett said she hopes that it can be used as a "teaching moment."

Barr apologized to Jarrett and said her tweet was "in bad taste," but the backlash was swift and fierce, with ABC canceling the reboot of her show. Jarrett served as a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama and was a guest Tuesday at MSNBC's planned town hall, Everyday Racism in America, which will air tonight.

"I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment," Jarrett said. "I'm fine. I'm worried about all the people out there who don't have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense. The person who's walking down the street, minding their own business, and they see somebody cling to their purse or wanna cross the street, or every black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation, 'The Talk,' as we call it." Jarrett said Disney President Bob Iger told her Roseanne was being canceled before it was publicly announced, and she supports the decision. Catherine Garcia

February 13, 2018

Colbie Holderness, the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, is pushing back against comments White House counselor Kellyanne Conway made over the weekend regarding the abuse that Holderness and Porter's other ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby, say they suffered during their marriages.

On CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, Conway said she didn't have any reason to not believe the women, but when asked if she was afraid for Porter's rumored new girlfriend, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, Conway replied, "I've rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts." This, Holderness wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post published Monday night, "implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong. I beg to differ."

It takes strength to recognize and survive an abusive relationship, Holderness said, and "it's often the subtler forms of abuse that inflict serious, persistent damage while making it hard for the victim to see the situation clearly." Holderness said she lived in "constant fear" of Porter's anger, and being "subjected to his degrading tirades for years chipped away at my independence and sense of self-worth." When she did finally leave Porter, who denies the allegations of abuse, Holderness said her self-confidence was "so destroyed" and it took years to get her professional life back on track.

Because victims are so intertwined with their abusers, through marriage, children, and money, it's hard to leave, and "the bottom line is, it takes strength to pull yourself away and start over," Holderness said. It's important to remember that having "excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts" does not "inoculate a person against abuse," and it can be very easy to overlook a person's nature if you are "blinded by a stellar résumé and background." Read Holderness' entire op-ed at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

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