NEW YORK – During a recorded phone conversation with Gennifer Flowers in December 1990, Bill Clinton can be heard reacting to a charge that he had an affair with former Miss Arkansas Lencola Sullivan, the first African-American woman to place among the top five in the Miss America pageant.
“I can see why, you know (inaudible) she’s darkened my door,” Clinton told Flowers, after denying the affair during the conversation.
Listen to the audio here:
From December 1990 to December 1991, Flowers famously recorded a series of conversations with Clinton during the period he was Governor of Arkansas and considering a run for the presidency.
On October 1991, Clinton announced his bid for the Oval Office, with rumors of extramarital affairs threatening to derail his campaign.
Flowers recently provided this reporter with complete original cassette recordings of her taped conversations with Clinton, recordings that take on renewed significance as the issue of Clinton’s alleged treatment of women has reemerged during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Some sections of those tapes were provided to the news media in the 1990s. Over the years, other parts of the tapes were made public, but some of the contents received little news media attention. Key segments of the tapes have largely not been properly vetted by the news media.
In the section of the tape in question, the topic of conversation was a lawsuit filed by former Clinton insider Larry Nichols, who claimed he was improperly dismissed by Clinton from a state job. In the lawsuit, Nichols alleged that Clinton diverted state funds to engage in extramarital affairs with five women, and he named Flowers, Sullivan and three others, including former Miss America Elizabeth Ward Gracen. Nichols would later drop his lawsuit, but the charges helped form the basis for tabloid stories alleging that Clinton engaged in extramarital affairs.
During the recorded conversation with Flowers, Clinton recounted being read the list of women, and he jokes, “I’ve got good taste” and “I kinda hate to deny that.”
Shortly thereafter, Clinton wondered how some of the women made the list. And he made the remark that Sullivan “darkened my door.”
BC: I mean the guys that sort of (inaudible) the whole thing was just sort of weird, you know, who they picked and why. And I couldn’t… I mean, I literally have no, and I haven’t even… I mean, I’ve talked to Elizabeth Ward, who got on that list, maybe three times in my whole life.
BC: I don’t have any idea how she made the grade.
BC: At least Lencola Sullivan is a friend of mine even though that I don’t, haven’t ever slept with her. She does come to see me when she’s in town, so I can see why, you know (inaudible) she’s darkened my door.
GF: Well, who knows. You know… You can’t, you can’t reason. They were just, you know… they picked people that are reasonably high-profile, too, if you’ll noticed. Names that people would probably recognize …which was pretty smart.
To “darken someone’s door” is an idiom that usually means to come to visit or make an appearance. At times the expression is used to refer to an unwanted appearance.
At various points in the tape, Clinton mentions he is in direct contact with Sullivan about the affair claims and that Sullivan assured him that she would remain silent.
“Not only that,” he said. “I mean, this is just crazy. If nobody’s…can… there are not going to be any stories; nobody said anything. Lencola told me they tried to call her…”
At another point, Clinton mentions Sullivan again:
GF …. I haven’t talked to anybody.
BC: Well, one of these people tried to call Lencola and she didn’t call ’em back. Cause she called me the other day to tell me.
BC: She said, you know, if they ever get me, I’ll talk to them and tell them it’s just BS but I don’t think I should cooperate with them.
In 1997, L.D. Brown, a former Arkansas state trooper who protected Clinton, alleged in a deposition that he had “heard” that Clinton had an affair with Sullivan but he could not recall the source of the purported information.
Sullivan could not be reached by Breitbart News for comment.
Throughout the tapes, meanwhile, Clinton stressed the importance of the women, including Flowers, refusing to speak to the news media.
Flowers says she was Bill Clinton’s mistress for 12-plus years.
Flowers says she never sought to go public. Her name was put out there against her will as a result of Nichols’ lawsuit. Three days after Star Magazine mentioned Flowers as Clinton’s alleged mistress, Bill and Hillary Clinton appeared in January 1992 side by side on 60 Minutes, where Bill denied a relationship with Flowers.
Clinton later admitted to one sexual encounter with Flowers in a 1998 deposition for the Paula Jones lawsuit.
After Clinton denied the affair during the 60 Minutes interview, Flowers held a press conference the next day, where excerpts of the tapes were played.