Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: ‘Statute of limitations’ for Biden apology is ‘up’
Anita Hill said Thursday that “the statute of limitations” for an apology from White House hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden is “up” for his handling of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s 1991 confirmation hearing.
“The statute of limitations for his apology is up,” Hill said after she was asked a question by an audience member at the University of Iowa, where she gave a lecture on sexual harassment, BuzzFeed News reported.
The person said that they were considering caucusing for Biden in the upcoming Iowa caucuses, but they could not ignore his role in Thomas’s confirmation hearings. The questioner asked how hard it could be for the former vice president to admit that he was wrong, according to the news outlet.
“Here is what I want now. … What are you going to do about it? What are you going to do today? Will you promise as leader of this country … would you promise to use all of your energy to address the problem as it happened and to prevent it from happening to another generation? That’s what I want to hear,” Hill continued. “And I not only want to hear from him, I want to hear from every one of them who want to be the leader of this country.”
Biden has faced renewed criticism about his handling of Thomas’s confirmation trial since he launched his campaign last year. Hill, a law professor, accused Thomas of sexual harassment as the hearing commenced. During that time, Biden served as the Senate Judiciary chairman and played a role in Thomas’s confirmation. Biden has been criticized for how he and other colleagues treated Hill during the hearing that played on national television.
Hill’s lecture at the university was part of the school’s MLK Human Rights Week, according to BuzzFeed News, coming just 11 days before the state holds the first presidential caucuses.
“I was criticized because I didn’t immediately open my arms and embrace him [and say], ‘OK, I forgive you,’” Hill said Thursday. “One of the reasons I didn’t was because I didn’t think it was enough.”
She said the other was that she didn’t want “every young woman” to “feel like they had to follow” her lead.
Biden has repeatedly expressed regret about his handling of the hearing. He said in March of last year that he wished “I could have done something” and reached out to Hill in the run-up to the launch of his campaign.
At the time, Hill told The New York Times “I cannot be satisfied by simply saying ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you.’” Hill has said that she would vote for Biden if he wins the Democratic nomination and faces President Trump in the 2020 election.
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