Biden's role in Anita Hill hearings defended by witness not allowed to testify

Biden's role in Anita Hill hearings defended by witness not allowed to testify
© Getty Images

One of the witnesses not called to speak during Anita HillAnita Faye HillSanders campaign official: Biden 'actively courted pro-segregation senators' to block black students from white schools Electability is key to Democrats' 2020 fortunes Clarence Thomas blasts his Biden-led confirmation hearings: 'The idea was to get rid of me' MORE’s 1991 Senate testimony about alleged sexual harassment is defending former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Sanders-Warren feud: 'Don't play to the pundits, play to voters' MORE's role in the hearings.

"I believe we have more pressing issues than whether Biden has sufficiently apologized for what did or did not happen almost three decades ago," Angela Wright-Shannon wrote in The Washington Post.

"I disagree with those who say only Biden is to blame for the way the hearing unfolded. More condemnable are Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and former senators Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals MORE (R-Utah) and Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), who interrogated Hill and challenged her credibility," she wrote.

Biden, a former senator and vice president who launched his 2020 White House campaign last month, has faced increased scrutiny on his treatment of Hill, who alleged now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her.

"As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee 28 years ago, Biden performed poorly; his lack of support for Hill was appalling. Hill says Biden promised her that she would be allowed to testify first. Everyone knows now that didn’t happen, a turn that allowed Thomas to frame the hearings to his advantage," explained Wright-Shannon, who worked with Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the 1980s and also accused the nominee of inappropriate words and behavior. "Biden could have done more — or at least tried — to moderate the heartless grilling of Hill by his Senate colleagues. He could have called me to speak to Thomas’s behavior, thus backing Hill’s testimony. Yet he chose not to. For Hill, Biden was about as useful as an umbrella to a skydiver."

However, Wright-Shannon urged "perspective."

"Why allow those issues to derail his presidential bid when the vulgar, always inappropriate current occupant of the White House has bragged about groping women and entering dressing rooms to ogle half-naked girls during the Miss Teen USA pageant?" she asked. "At stake is the 2020 presidential election, and if we don’t keep our eyes on that prize, we might find ourselves trumped again."

Before launching his campaign, Biden reached out to Hill to express regret for how she was treated during the hearing. Hill said she wouldn't describe his comments as an apology.