- Category : 1949-births
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 2/5 - Hermit / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (17)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sleeping Phoenix 4
American news figure, caught up in the presidential scandal of 1998 in which Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern, was quoted as saying she had an affair with President Bill Clinton. Few public figures have drawn more scabrous press coverage than the Pentagon official, but then few have so richly deserved it. She betrayed her friend in pursuit of political payback and book-deal riches and then claimed that it was really patriotism and self-preservation that led her to putting a recording device on her body.
In April 1998, she was age 48 with one son, Ryan, 22, and a daughter, Allison, 19. She had divorced husband Bruce Tripp several years before. She was world traveled with her husband, a Lt. Colonel in the military, and was fluent in German. She did clerical work, holding a classified job with the Army's elite Delta Force. She was known as a hard lady except not much of a lady, often with a chip on her shoulder.
Employed in secretarial jobs in the White House, she rubbed shoulders with the movers and shakers. Picking up a lunch order, she was the last person to see Vince Foster alive before his mysterious suicide. She liked the gossip and being "in the know." However she was indiscreet and officious, not trusted or well liked among her co-workers. In 1993, she told reporters at Newsweek about the alleged Oval Office grope session.
Tripp made friends with the younger intern, Monica Lewinsky and they became confidants. When she told attorney James Moody what she knew about Monica's alleged affair with the President, he set up Tripp's first meeting with special prosecutor Ken Starr's people on 12 January 1998. On the following day she was "wired" with a tape recorder strapped to her body in order to record what her friend said about her sex life. The story broke around 20 January. It was the girl-talk captured on those tapes that led to the impeachment ugliness that obsessed the nation during most of 1998.
On late 30 Juy 1999, a grand jury in Maryland's Howard County indicted Tripp on two felony counts related to illegal wiretapping. Jury selection for her trial was scheduled for summer 2000 but was sidetracked on 24 May 2000 when the wiretapping charges were dropped.
Deeply offended and hurt at her bad press and the jokes about her appearance, Tripp went in for $28,000 of cosmetic surgery on 14 October 1999, funded by an anonymous benefactor. In seven hours of surgery, Dr. Geoffrey Keyes removed the bags from under her eyes, cut away the fat from her neck and tightened her chin, softened and shortened her nose and provided a chin implant. Tripp did her part by cutting back on smoking and losing 40 pounds. She topped off her new look with four hours in the beauty parlor for a new hair color and style at a $400 stylist fee, for which she left no tip.
In late 2000, Tripp bought a home in posh Middleburg, Virginia.
When a new president is elected, government appointees are routinely dismissed as their office is delegated to appointees of the incoming administration. On 19 January 2001, two days before President Bush's inauguration, Tripp was notified of the termination of her $100,000 a year job in the Pentagon. She promptly engaged attorneys to sue for "wrongful termination," declaring that her dismissal was a personal vendetta because of her role in the Clinton impeachment.
In early March 2002, her attorneys confirmed that Tripp was being treated for breast cancer.
In November 2003, she won a $595,000 settlement from the Department of Defense, whom she had sued for releasing her personnel files to the media. The amount, she claims, still left her in debt after her legal fees and loss of her Pentagon job. By December 2003, she was trim, having undergone plastic surgery, breast cancer, and dieting. She was also romantically involved with Dieter Rausch, aged 53, a German architect. She had known him for years, and their romance was kindled in 2000. Tripp married Rausch in 2004. They lived in Middleburg, Virginia, where they owned and operated a German winter-themed holiday store called the Christmas Sleigh. Tripp died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 70 on 8 April 2020.