Former Vice President Joe Biden expressed regret on Tuesday for being unable to give Anita Hill “the kind of hearing she deserved” during Clarence Thomas’s 1991 Supreme Court confirmation process. But his comments fell short of satisfying critics who say he actively sought to undermine Hill’s claims of sexual harassment — an accusation that has complicated his presidential ambitions in the #MeToo era.
“To this day I regret I couldn’t come up with a way to give her the kind of hearing she deserved,” said Biden at a New York City event about preventing sexual assault on college campuses. “I wish I could have done something.”
Biden’s remarks led to swift repudiation from those who pointed out that, as chairman of the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee, he had appeared to downplay Hill’s accusations at the hearing. At the time, Biden was even accused of making a deal with Republicans to silence witnesses who sought to speak on Hill’s behalf.
“It literally does not matter what else Biden says about sexual assault if he cannot acknowledge his own culpability in putting a sexual assaulter on the Supreme Court and then pretending for years like he was powerless to stop it,” tweeted former Hillary Clinton aide Jessica Morales Rocketto, the political director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
“Love you Joe but you were in a position to do better — and you didn’t,” said activist and actress Mia Farrow, adding that his behavior during the Anita Hill hearings was “shameful.”
During his remarks, Biden suggested that the legal system was stacked against women who sought to report violence because it was “an English jurisprudential culture, a white man’s culture.”
“It’s got to change,” said Biden.
He also said he had told a member of a college fraternity that “you don’t deserve to be called a man” if “you see a brother taking an inebriated co-ed up the stairs at a fraternity house and you don’t go and stop it.”
Read the full story at the Washington Post.