He also reacted to the date being shown on the most recent episode of “American Crime Story.”
Did CNN’s Jake Tapper really date Monica Lewinsky? That’s the question a lot of “Impeachment: American Crime Story” fans are probably asking after Tuesday night’s new episode.
The most recent hour began in December 1997, with Beanie Feldstein’s Monica meeting Tapper (Chris Riggi) out at a bar. After calling her “really cute” to one of his friends, he chats her up about her work in Washington and pays — telling her, “This is a date.” And that’s it.
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The same day that scene aired, Lewinsky actually appeared on Tapper’s CNN show, “The Lead,” where he reacted to their date making it onto the show.
“First of all, Monica, yes, I have to disclose — full disclosure — in tonight’s episode, our G-rated date from December 1997 is portrayed, I should note, by an actor way better looking than me now or then,” Tapper joked during their chat.
Lewinsky, meanwhile, simply laughed and noted that they only had “one date” — a date he wrote about in in Washington CityPaper a month later when The Clinton Affair became national news.
In a piece titled, “I Dated Monica Lewinsky,” he recalled his reaction to seeing her name in the news after meeting her just a few weeks earlier.
“I am not jumping in because one dinner with Monica enabled me to read her mind as she sits with friends and family at the Watergate, pondering her fate,” he wrote. “I write, clearly, because I want a piece of this story just like everybody else.”
“I also want to point out that behind this particular bimbo eruption sits a young woman who is not a bimbo, who is a fairly sensible sort from what I saw, who was never going to be the one holding a press conference alongside a posterboard blowup of the Star with a back pocket full of the cash she got from selling out,” he continued. “She may be guilty of poor judgment, but she never asked for this.”
As he told it, after meeting at a bar, they exchanged numbers and eventually went out to dinner at a Tex-Mex restaurant. He remarked that she was “not a salad-picker,” didn’t strike him as a “as a classic climber” and didn’t mention the president when talking about her past relationships. He would go on to regret characterizing her as “a little chubby,” but “leaps and bounds prettier than that vacuous mug shot beamed all over the world.”
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Despite having a good time and sending her off with “a very innocent goodbye,” they never met up again — due in part to the holidays, a vacation and his accidentally throwing away her phone number.
You can read his whole account — which includes him saying, “she’s not a mug shot and a punch line to me” in 1998 — here.
During their interview together on CNN, Tapper asked about “Crime Story’s” warts and all approach to storytelling, not glossing over things that might not put Lewinsky — a producer — in the best light.
“I felt like I shouldn’t get a pass, in general. I think it’s important to take responsibility for mistakes and I worked hard to work through those,” she told Tapper. “It was important to me that the credibility of the show be there. If I was smoothing over … my history, it wasn’t right and wouldn’t be fair to anybody.”
Talking about her affair with Bill Clinton, she added, “I think what’s really important to remember in today’s world is that we never should have even gotten to a place where consent was a question.”
“So it was wholly inappropriate as the most powerful man, my boss, 49 years old. I was 22, literally just out of college,” she continued. “And I think that the power differentials there are something that I couldn’t ever fathom consequences at 22 that I understand obviously so differently at 48.”
New episodes of “Impeachment: American Crime Story” air Tuesdays on FX.
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