Amid the Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford hearings, some are revisiting the Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas proceedings — which is not an ideal development for Joe Biden. The former vice-president, who served as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, has faced backlash for over two decades for not doing enough to protect Hill during her sexual-harassment testimony against Thomas, during which she sustained repeated hostile attacks on her character from an all-white, all-male panel.
Last year, Biden finally expressed public regret over his inaction during Hill’s testimony, though he did not go so far as to issue an apology. And, according to a new report in the New York Times, he has privately complained to his allies that it’s unfair of Hill to continue holding him responsible for how it all unfolded.
According to the Times report, Biden is “incensed” that Republicans have taken comments he made in 1991 out of context, including one video clip they used to make it appear — falsely — that he thought there was no need for an FBI investigation into Hill’s allegations. But he’s also frustrated with Democrats for judging the way he handled things at the time, given the “political reality” back then, a frustration that reportedly extends to Hill herself.
In a 2017 interview with Teen Vogue, Biden said he wishes he “had been able to do more for Anita Hill,” and acknowledged that he owed her an apology. Still, according to the Times, he currently has no plan to address the way he handled the hearings.
Biden also has yet to apologize to Hill, or indicate in any serious way that he plans to. When Elle asked Hill last month if she was waiting for an apology with “bated breath,” she asserted there are “more important things” than hearing Biden say sorry.
“It’s become sort of a running joke in the household when someone rings the doorbell and we’re not expecting company,” Hill said. “’Oh,’ we say, ‘is that Joe Biden coming to apologize?’”