Anita Hill says she's unsatisfied with Biden overture, won't call it an apology

Anita Hill has confirmed that former Vice President Joe Biden reached out to her by phone earlier this month to express regret over how she was treated during her 1991 testimony regarding Justice Clarence Thomas, but said she found the conversation unsatisfying and wouldn't describe his comments as an apology.

“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you. I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose,” Hill told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday.

Hill told the Times on Wednesday that she does not believe Biden has fully held himself accountable for the impact his actions have had on her and other women who have suffered sexual harassment and violence. It was widely reported on Tuesday that Biden would soon be launching his candidacy for the White House, which he did early Thursday.

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A spokesperson for Biden told The Hill in a statement that he expressed regret for past events.

“Vice President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks MORE has spoken with Anita Hill. They had a private discussion where he shared with her directly his regret for what she endured and his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country," the spokesperson said.

Hill accused then-Supreme Court nominee Thomas of sexual harassment during his 1991 confirmation process, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the allegations. Biden chaired the Senate panel at the time.

Biden said last month that he wished he could have done something about how Hill was treated  during the hearing.  

“She was abused in the hearing. She was taken advantage of. Her reputation was attacked. I wish I could have done something,” he said, noting his opposition to Thomas' confirmation. The remarks drew criticism from those who pointed to Biden's position as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Biden's treatment of Hill when he chaired the Judiciary panel during Thomas's confirmation hearings could become an issue in the Democratic presidential primary, especially in the age of the "Me Too" movement. 

Hill's treatment during the hearing has faced renewed scrutiny during the "Me Too" era and following sexual misconduct allegations made against Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSenate panel votes to make women register for draft Democrats criticize FBI's handling of tip line in Kavanaugh investigation No reason to pack the court MORE last year during his confirmation process.

--Updated 4:27 p.m.