“Back in the ’70s when I was faced with a lot of the same things, we were told, ‘Men will be men; just deal with it,’” the retired nurse told Moneyish
Women today are saying #MeToo. Juanita Broaddrick has been saying it nearly two decades.
In the post-Harvey Weinstein reckoning, the woman who has long claimed Bill Clinton raped her is wary of media outlets revisiting — and now believing — the grisly tale she has told publicly since 1999. As far as Broaddrick is concerned, recent headlines like The Atlantic’s “Bill Clinton: A Reckoning” and the New York Times’ “I Believe Juanita” wouldn’t exist had Hillary Clinton won the election.“I think it’s a little late, and I think that time will tell: Will they turn on me again?” Broaddrick, 74, told Moneyish in an interview. “I appreciate them coming out, but I’m leery, and I feel like it’s strictly political.”
Still, the former nurse called the current survivor-friendly climate — ushered in by explosive allegations made to the Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker and others about once-invincible men like Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose and Louis C.K. — “a feel-good moment.” “Back in the ’70s when I was faced with a lot of the same things … we were told, ‘Men will be men; just deal with it,’” she said. “It was just such a relief to see that that was changing.”
Broaddrick repeatedly sidesteps saying whether she believes the dozen-plus women accusing President Trump, whose campaign roped her into the post-“Access Hollywood”-tape presidential debate, of unwanted touching. “You know, I don’t know what to say about that,” she said. “I think they have the right to be heard and I think that it needs to be investigated. And if it needs to be brought out more, then that’s only fair.” But does she believe them based on what she’s heard so far, including journalists’ investigative efforts? “I wish I knew. I’m still on the fence,” she said. “I would certainly like to hear more.” Trump could lose her 2020 vote “if the things come out and are leaning toward his victims,” Broaddrick said, but he has her support for now. “I just wish he wouldn’t tweet so much — it’s exhausting.”
She’s similarly noncommittal on Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who vehemently denies a spate of sexual misconduct accusations that include molesting a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s. “I think it started as politically motivated, but at this point, I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t want to make a statement that accuses one when it turns out to be the other one that’s at fault. … I don’t know who’s telling the truth.”
Broaddrick’s story goes this way: In 1978, as a volunteer for then-Arkansas Attorney General Clinton’s gubernatorial bid, she says she got a call from his campaign asking if he could stop by the nursing home she operated. The day of his visit, Broaddrick relayed concerns about her reimbursement rates — an issue “he just latched onto,” she says — and he instructed her to call him if she was ever in Little Rock. “I foolishly worked up all these graphs and information,” she told Moneyish. “I thought, ‘Oh goodness, this is going to be able to help me to survive in my business’ … We were all struggling.”
Broaddrick and her director of nursing, Norma Rogers, set off for the capital a few weeks later after work, checking into the now-defunct Camelot Hotel the evening of April 24. Broaddrick got in touch the next morning with Clinton, who said he’d meet her at the hotel’s coffee shop, while Rogers set off for a nursing directors’ seminar that Broaddrick planned to join after meeting Clinton. But he later called up to her room, she says, asking if they could meet there to avoid a crowd of reporters. She agreed and ordered coffee to her room; there, she claims, Clinton raped her and left her upper lip bloody and swollen from biting. (“You’d better put some ice on that,” his alleged advice before leaving her room, would become the title of Broaddrick’s forthcoming self-published memoir.)
A gracious Hillary Clinton, Broaddrick says, approached her at a fundraiser weeks later to thank her for everything she did in supporting his campaign; as she turned to leave, the eventual Secretary of State grabbed her arm with a scowl and asked, “Do you understand? Everything you do” — an alleged encounter Broaddrick read as a veiled threat to keep quiet. Bill Clinton confronted her in 1991 to ask for forgiveness, she further claims: “I looked at him and I told him to go to hell and I walked off,” she said.
Broaddrick, who says the alleged assault drove a wedge through her second marriage and gave her severe panic attacks, stayed quiet for 20 years — turning away private investigators for Clinton sexual harassment accuser Paula Jones and providing them with a sworn affidavit in 1998 denying he had made unwelcome advances. But in 1999, after federal prosecutor Ken Starr offered her immunity from perjury prosecution, Broaddrick went public in a “Dateline” interview that wouldn’t air until two weeks after Clinton was acquitted of impeachment charges. (Broaddrick challenged NBC News honcho Andy Lack in a recent tweet to rebroadcast the interview.)
The 42nd president’s attorney in 1999 called Broaddrick’s assault allegation “absolutely false,” and Clinton has never been charged in connection. Arkansas’ six-year statute of limitations on rape had long since passed, and the alleged attack produced no other witnesses or physical evidence. But Broaddrick, today living out her retirement in Van Buren, Ark., rich with twice-a-week tennis jaunts and time with her 14-year-old grandson, says she has yet to forgive Clinton. “I’ve detested what he did to me for so long, I don’t know what it’s going to take,” she said. “A public apology would certainly help.”
I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73….it never goes away.
— Juanita Broaddrick (@atensnut) January 6, 2016
Increasingly incensed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign-trail statements about the need to believe survivors of sexual assault — plus her hedging, when asked about her own husband’s accusers, that “everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence” — Broaddrick revisited her largely dormant Twitter account in January of 2016, writing, “I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Ark. Attorney General raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73….it never goes away.” Once she hit send, she told Moneyish, “all hell broke loose”: “Can you imagine,” she marveled, “if I had had Twitter in 1999?”
Months later, the onetime Barack Obama donor found herself in then-candidate Donald Trump’s orbit. Mere hours before the second debate — which fell two days after 2005 hot-mic footage revealed his boasts about groping women without their consent — Broaddrick accepted the Trump camp’s invite to attend alongside fellow Clinton accusers. “My son said, ‘You’re just being used by their campaign,’ and I may have even felt that at the time,” she said. “But to be truthful, I didn’t care. We were now going to have our say.” She was “shocked” to discover they’d be holding court at a live pre-debate press conference, she said, but “as it progressed, I did not mind making my statement.”
Broaddrick flares up at Hillary Clinton’s recent attempts to distance her husband’s late-’90s scandals from Trump’s abuse allegations. “She keeps referring to our allegations as discredited, as proved wrong … that’s not true,” she said. “If she’s going to talk about other people, she needs to talk about her own house.” The former New York senator, Broaddrick argues, bolstered the culture of silence that has long suppressed sexual abuse survivors. “I think her enabling (Bill Clinton), and him continuing to be in office, and her continuing to (be) in office has contributed to where we are today,” she said. “I think this society has developed from that very thing.”
But “it’s just a different world now,” remarks Broaddrick, who sometimes devotes as long as two or three hours a day to respond to the hundreds of messages she receives weekly from sexual abuse survivors. “That’s what I tell the women that contact me: You’re going to be more believed than I was back then,” she said. “So if you’re telling the truth and this is real, then now is the time to come forward.”
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