Joe Biden expressed regret for his role in how Anita Hill was treated during the 1991 confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
The former Vice President spoke at the the Russian Tea Room in New York City Tuesday night. He was at an event hosted by the Biden Foundation and It’s On Us, honoring students who have worked to end sexual assault on college campuses. During his comments, he addressed his involvement in how Hill was treated.
At the time, Biden was a Delaware senator and chair the Senate Judiciary Committee. Many observers, including Hill, have felt that she was treated unfairly as she spoke before an all white male panel and detailed alleged sexual harassment by Thomas. Biden is considering running for president in 2020 and his treatment of Hill has long been a standing issue with those in the Democratic party, in particular African American women.
“We knew a lot less about the extent of harassment back then, over 30 years ago. She paid a terrible price. She was abused for the hearing. She was taken advantage of. Her reputation was attacked. I wish I could have done something,” Biden said. “To this day, I regret I couldn’t come up with a way to get her the kind of hearing she deserved, given the courage she showed by reaching out to us.”
Biden also acknowledged that the composition of those who sat in judgement of her as they were “a bunch of white guys.” He added that Hill, who is African African American “came and testified, she faced a committee that didn’t fully understand what the hell it was all about.”
Biden’s comments did not go over well with some sections of social media. Many felt he still did not take responsbility for how he allowed the hearing to become so contentious.
Furthermore, in November 2018, Hill stated that Biden had not formally apologized to her. She declared that he kept apologizing but never to her.
“The statute of limitations has run on an apology. I don’t need an apology,” Hill said.“But sometimes when the doorbell rings, and I am not expecting anyone, I think, could that be Joe Biden?”