Joe Biden Says He Wishes He Could’ve Done More For Anita Hill: “I Owe Her An Apology”
As the rise of the #MeToo movement continues to galvanize men and women to speak out against sexual harassment and misconduct, Joe Biden is reflecting on one of the most famous sexual harassment claims in politics.
In 1991, Anita Hill, who famously accused U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thomas of sexual harassment, was called to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
At the time, Biden was a 48-year-old Delaware Senator and chair of the Committee, while Thomas, 43, was a Supreme Court nominee.
Hill, a then 35-year-old attorney claims that she endured two years of Thomas’ repeated sexual harassment while he was her boss at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Details of the alleged harassment were leaked to the press days before Thomas’ confirmation hearing, which led to Hill being called to publicly testify along with Thomas.
Thomas denied Hill’s allegations, and likened the proceedings to a “high class lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.”
Meanwhile, Hill’s credibility was questioned, and she was painted as seeking revenge against Thomas, who was later confirmed to the Supreme Court in a 52–48 vote.
In retrospect, Biden wishes that he could have “done more” for Hill. “I owe her an apology,” the former Vice President recently told Teen Vogue.
Although Biden has been criticized for his treatment of Hill, the longtime politician now maintains that he believed her allegations against Thomas.
“I believed Anita Hill. I voted against Clarence Thomas,” Biden explained to Teen Vogue. “And I insisted the next election — I campaigned for two women Senators on the condition that if they won they would come on the Judiciary Committee, so there would never be again all men making a judgement on this.”
“And my one regret is that I wasn’t able to tone down the attacks on her by some of my Republican friends,” he continued. “I mean, they really went after her. As much as I tried to intervene, I did not have the power to gavel them out of order. I tried to be like a judge and only allow a question that would be relevant to ask.”
This isn’t Biden’s first round of apologies to Hill in the media. He made a public mea culpa during the Glamour’s Women of the Year summit in New York last month.
In response, Hill told the Washington Post, “I still don’t think it takes ownership of his role in what happened. And he also doesn’t understand that it wasn’t just that I felt it was not fair.”