Monica Lewinsky’s former rabbi who publicly condemned Bill Clinton during the sex scandal will be giving the benediction before the former President takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention tonight.
ABC News reported that the awkward pairing was likely overlooked by organizers because Rabbi David Wolpe is such a well-known figure in the Jewish community.
Time may not have healed all wounds, however, as Rabbi Wolpe was very critical of Mr Clinton throught the scandal and wrote an op-ed three years ago reiterating those feelings.
The Lewinskys attended the Rabbi’s Sinai Temple for years and Monica went to its affiliated Sinai Akiba Academy religious school before heading to college, and eventually, the White House.
As the then-22-year-old intern’s name became a national buzzword for having repeated sexual encounters with the then-President, her Rabbi came to her defense and criticized Mr Clinton.
‘He was a brilliant, talented, extraordinary child, and for the leader of the United States we need an adult,’ the Associated Press reported Rabbi Wolpe saying in a synagogue service around the time of the 1998 scandal.
That ferocity dimmed slightly in the following decade, but it didn’t disappear completely.
In a column about another politician’s affair, Rabbi Wolpe brought up Clinton again saying that it was more the cover up and slander that brought the disgrace with that instance.
‘During the Lewinsky scandal, it was the lying and smearing of Monica Lewinsky that marked the low point of the event, not the sex, which was primarily an issue for the individuals and families involved,’ he wrote in The Washington Post.
Mr Clinton spent the years following his two terms working with his philanthropic organization the Clinton Global Initiative, writing his autobiography, and accruing goodwill.
In June of this year, the former President had a 66 per cent favorability rating which was certainly higher than President Obama’s.
By granting Clinton the coveted second-night-headlining post at the Convention, it shows that Obama sees the value in having his predecessor in a prominent spot to attract undecideds.
While Clinton’s speech- which he is said to have written himself- will be an attack on the Republicans, asserting that ‘they built’ the country’s $16trillion national debt, the topic of Democratic support for Israel has aleady been raised today.
During the day on Wednesday, delegates approved revisions to the convention platform to include a mention of God and declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.
Considering President Obama has been criticized for what many Jewish supporters view as tepid support for Israel, the move was undoubtedly seen as a strong show of allegiance.
The same goes for the decision to give Rabbi Wolpe such a prominent position in the convention schedule, though it may end up being an awkward selection in the end.