Biden: ‘I take responsibility’ for Anita Hill not being treated well
Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a new interview Monday that he takes “responsibility” for what he says was the mistreatment of Anita Hill during her 1991 testimony regarding then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
“I believed her from the very beginning, but I was chairman. She did not get a fair hearing. She did not get treated well. That’s my responsibility,” Biden, who recently announced he is running for president, said in an interview with “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts that will air on Tuesday.
“As the committee chairman, I take responsibility that she did not get treated well. I take responsibility for that,” he added.
Biden also said he apologized to Hill in a recent phone call. Hill confirmed to The New York Times last week that he reached out to her, but said she found his overture unsatisfying and that it did not constitute a true apology.
“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you,” Hill said to The New York Times. “I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”
In an interview with ABC’s “The View” on Friday, the women anchors gave Biden several opportunities to directly apologize to Hill for how he treated her.
But Biden repeatedly declined, saying that he believed her allegations of sexual harassment from the start.
“I’m sorry for the way she got treated,” Biden said. “Look at what I said and didn’t say; I don’t think I treated her badly.”
“I believed Dr. Hill, I believed what she was saying,” he added. “There were a lot of mistakes made across the board and for those I apologize. We could have conducted it better, but I believed Dr. Hill from the beginning and I said it.”
Biden blamed Republicans on the committee for attacking Hill.
“I’m sorry she was treated the way she was treated,” Biden said. “I wish we could have figured out a better way to get this thing done. I did everything in my power to do what I thought was within the rules to stop things.”
Biden also praised Hill for becoming an advocate for survivors of sexual assault.
“When we got through that god-awful experience, she’s one of the reasons why we have the ‘Me Too’ movement,” he said.
“She’s responsible for significant changes and she deserves credit for it. … I’m grateful she took my call.”