The Truth About Linda Tripp And Monica Lewinsky

On April 9, 2020, Linda Tripp's death was confirmed by her son, Ryan Tripp, per The Washington Post. At the time of her death, Tripp was 70 and had previously battled breast cancer. Tripp spent most of her career working as a White House employee. She became a public figure when she exposed the affair between President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern at the time. Lewinsky confided in Tripp about the relationship during phone calls that Tripp secretly recorded, leading to the president's 1998 impeachment. 

Tripp's role in the scandal changed her life immensely. In fact, it was even mentioned in a statement that her attorneys shared with The Hollywood Reporter about her passing. The statement said, "We are saddened to hear the news that Linda Tripp has died. Linda understood how people in power can abuse their positions. She had incredible courage. She was faithfully committed to honesty in government. She stood up when others would not."

Some applauded Tripp for exposing the truth. Others loathed her for betraying Lewinsky's trust in such a public way. When Lewinsky testified for the grand jury, she infamously said, "I'm really sorry for everything that's happened. And I hate Linda Tripp."

Like Tripp, Lewinsky will be associated with the scandal forever. Nevertheless, Lewinsky exemplified class when she heard about Tripp's ailing health. On April 8, 2020, she tweeted, "no matter the past, upon hearing that linda tripp is very seriously ill, i hope for her recovery. i can't imagine how difficult this is for her family."

Linda Tripp said Monica Lewinsky was "obsessed" with President Bill Clinton

Linda Tripp compared Monica Lewinsky to a child during a 2017 Daily Mail interview. She recalled, "Monica looked like a young woman. She was lovely. She's smart and witty. But she was a child in every sense." Tripp even claimed, "She was obsessed with Bill Clinton. And what she was reading as a romance was something completely different to him. I knew how he operated, this was nothing new to me." In that same interview, Tripp alleged that Lewinsky called Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie, "20 times a day."

Tripp shared, "Monica was so obsessed that there was absolutely no possibility of changing that. She believed that they would grow old together." Tripp also confessed, "At first I found her a little on the bimbo side but I came to realize that none of that is true. She is a smart, witty, caring, giving person who happened to be in the throes of an enormous obsession." 

Despite initial reservations, Tripp claimed that she liked Lewinsky, only snitching to protect her. Tripp told the Daily Mail, "I became fond of her and it pained me to do what I did. But I knew I had to do it." Ultimately, she claimed, "I desperately wanted there to be some accountability for what he was doing." She said, "'With Monica, it just put me over the edge. The kind of abuse of a kid was just so unconscionable. It was horrible, even for him."

Linda Tripp told Monica Lewinsky to keep the blue dress

During those recorded phone calls, Monica Lewinsky told Linda Tripp that she had a blue dress stained with semen from President Clinton. She planned to get it dry cleaned so she could wear it again soon. However, Tripp encouraged Lewinsky to keep the dress, uncleaned, just in case she needed it for evidence in the future. The Washington Post reports that Tripp told Lewinsky, "I just don't want to take away your options down the road, should you need them." She added, "I just, I don't trust the people around him, and I just want you to have that for you." Tripp advised her, "Put it in a baggie, put it in a Ziploc bag, and you pack it in with your treasures, for what I care."

In July 1998, that dress became evidence when Lewinsky turned it into the independent counsel, Kenneth Starr. After taking a blood sample from Clinton, the FBI confirmed that he was, indeed, the source of the semen, and turned its findings over to Starr, according to The Washington Post. This infamous item of clothing proved that there was a sexual encounter between Clinton and Lewinsky. 

Imagine how things might have turned out differently if Lewinsky went through with her original plan to have the garment dry cleaned.

Linda Tripp admits she manipulated Monica Lewinsky

Although Linda Tripp claimed that she was merely protecting a friend when she recorded and leaked her conversations with Monica Lewinsky, she admitted she was "disingenuous" with Lewinsky when she appeared on the Slow Burn podcast in 2018. She recalled, "This was flying by the seat of my pants, terrified, out of my wits, completely guilt-ridden that I was having to manipulate her..."

She emphasized that she felt that she "had to" record Lewinsky, but she still admitted, "There wasn't a thing about those three months that were authentic. Everything prior to that was, but I needed everything to be recreated and it was beyond manipulative." Tripp continued, "Did I want to do that? Not necessarily, but I felt like I had no choice."

While she firmly believed she did the right thing, during the interview, she said that she wished "she could convince" Lewinsky to believe the same. Nevertheless, she concluded, "that will never happen."

Linda Tripp said she was "not friends" with Monica Lewinsky

Many critics blasted Linda Tripp for being a bad friend to Monica Lewinsky. However, Tripp claimed that they weren't even that close during a 1999 interview on Larry King Live. She described their relationship as "colleagues of short duration." She told King: "[I] did consider Monica a friend, but not lifelong friend with whom I had had a shared history over time. We weren't social friends. We were working colleagues. But that isn't the answer."

Even though they weren't "friends" by Tripp's definition, she was hurt when Lewinsky told the grand jury she hated her. Tripp told King, "I have shed many tears over Monica in the last year, and I think I don't want to talk about that right at this moment. I think that Monica will forever feel that this was a betrayal."

Tripp maintained her stance during a 2017 interview with Fox Nation for the Scandalous documentary about Bill and Hillary Clinton, declaring, "It wasn't a friendship." She described the perception that they were close friends as "a huge fallacy." Tripp also claimed that she hadn't met a "needier person in [her] entire life." Ouch.

While it's unknown — albeit, very unlikely — if these two ever found peace, it's fair to say that Lewinsky took the high road with that tweet she shared right before Tripp's passing.