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Anita Hill Eviscerates Joe Biden's "Apology" in Scathing Interview
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50618"><span class="small">Alison Durkee, Vanity Fair</span></a>   
Saturday, 27 April 2019 08:23

Durkee writes: "Former Vice President Joe Biden's attempt at getting ahead of his Anita Hill problem backfired on Thursday, as the newly-announced presidential candidate's campaign leaked a conversation between the two - only to be quickly upstaged by Hill's own account of the event."

Anita Hill. (photo: Elizabeth D. Herman/NYT)
Anita Hill. (photo: Elizabeth D. Herman/NYT)

ALSO SEE: Joe Biden Declines to Directly Apologize to Anita Hill
for His Handling of 1991 Hearing

Anita Hill Eviscerates Joe Biden's "Apology" in Scathing Interview

By Alison Durkee, Vanity Fair

27 April 19

“The focus on apology to me is one thing,” she said. “But he needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw.”

ormer Vice President Joe Biden’s attempt at getting ahead of his Anita Hill problem backfired on Thursday, as the newly-announced presidential candidate’s campaign leaked a conversation between the two—only to be quickly upstaged by Hill’s own account of the event. Biden has long faced criticism over his treatment of Hill during Justice Clarence Thomas’s 1991 Supreme Court hearing, which he presided over as the then-chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Hill has said that Biden “could have done more” to support her allegation that Thomas had sexually harassed her, including by allowing more witnesses to testify who supported her claims, and said prior to their conversation that Biden had never personally apologized to her.

Undoubtedly anticipating that his treatment of Hill will become an issue for Biden, his campaign confirmed Thursday that the former V.P. had recently spoken with Hill to express his ”regret” over the Supreme Court hearing. “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,” a campaign spokesman said in a statement. Biden has previously expressed remorse, saying in March that he “regret[s] that I could not come up with a way to get her the kind of hearing she deserved.”

For Hill, though, the one-on-one with Biden was apparently too little, too late. Soon after news of their conversation broke, The New York Times published Hill’s own account of their discussion, which she said left her feeling ”deeply unsatisfied” and could not characterize as a full 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 Times, adding that she would not be supporting Biden's candidacy. Biden “needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw,” she said.

Hill’s response ensures that the 1991 hearing will continue to haunt Biden’s campaign, particularly given the recent controversies surrounding his handsiness, and the diverse slate of qualified female candidates he’s running against. Even before Biden officially announced his campaign, the 76-year-old white male candidate faced heightened scrutiny during the She the People presidential forum in Houston on Wednesday. The event’s female attendees of color didn’t hold back in their criticism of Biden—one attendee wore a shirt saying “I still believe Anita Hill”—perhaps foreshadowing the candidate’s difficulties in winning over a younger and more diverse Democratic base. “I know that we have been cultured to feel that only the white man can save us,” organizer Roxy D. Hall Williamson said at the event. “I just don't feel like Biden is our answer.”

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Last Updated on Saturday, 27 April 2019 08:50


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+70 # BetaTheta 2019-04-27 09:36
The system hasn't changed all that much since Hill's testimony. Witness the fact that yet another probable perjurer was allowed on the Supreme Court, just last year.
+38 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-04-27 12:19
Go home Joe Biden. We don't need you.
+3 # HenryS1 2019-04-27 12:41
There is a lesson lost in all this.

Right now we ask whether Biden should have unambiguously accepted personal responsibility for his role in the Anita Hill hearings. An important question. It deserves attention. I am happy that Anita Hill is getting heard. I admire the intelligence and maturity with which she frames her response.


I can't help but contrast Biden and Trump here. The weight and quantity of women's accusations of Trump for sexual crimes against women dwarfs those against Biden. This does not excuse Biden. But what is the lesson to be learned here about how to effectively mitigate or undermine accusations?

Proud denial, vicious counter-attacks , lying smear campaigns by proxies, and winking appeals to locker-room celebrations of hyper-masculini ty "win" as public strategy.

A measured attempt to make amends, albeit one that falls short of perfection, backfires.

Biden is no saint, but beneath politics and calculation, DID choose a path that honored the truth more, and aimed for an outcome with more justice and less dishonesty.

I feel deep fatigue from 2016. Putting your political choice on a pedestal as a hero makes the rah-rah more fun.

But. Look where that leads us. To Trump winning. The harm he does requires us to focus on his effective removal. He is the Prince of Lies and distraction. He re-frames the national narrative at will. We should not "pile on" to prove our liberal purity. Positively support someone better.
+34 # Observer 47 2019-04-27 13:25
Joe Biden's "path" is ALL ABOUT politics and calculation. His quasi-apology stops well short of admitting that he wronged Ms. Hill. It's a fig leaf donned to deflect criticism of his actions during Thomas' confirmation hearings. Uncle Joe can't take back his misogynistic treatment of Ms. Hill during those days, nor can he take back various racist allusions and support of Rethug policies and candidates since those hearings.

Comparing Biden and Trump is apples and oranges (no pun intended). Biden may look good next to Trump, but that bar is so low, a decent person would be ashamed of the comparison. Considered in simple moral terms, Biden's conduct still makes him a loser.
+13 # Texas Aggie 2019-04-28 05:07
Wrong! It most certainly does NOT lead to the Fat Boy winning. It leads to a better candidate than Biden winning.

When Biden "apologized" and said he was sorry for the pain she endured, he "forgot" to say that he was sorry for inflicting the pain on her. The difference between the two apologies is the difference between a dickhead who doesn't take responsibility for his actions or who isn't sorry for what he did and would do it again if given the chance, and a person with integrity who made a bad mistake and is truly sorry for his conduct. We already have a president* of the former type. We don't need another.
+6 # LionMousePudding 2019-04-28 22:44
If the only requirement you have is that the person be better than Trump, your bar is so low that a worm like Rush Limbaugh could jump over.

It is really a straw man argument to argue for someone simply because they are better than Trump, because that simply isn't a valid requirement.

I would say a more valid requirement would be better than Obama.
-55 # joejamchicago 2019-04-27 13:25
Anita Hill was happy to ride the coattails of Clarence Thomas while he continued to abuse her. Only after she had climbed the sleazy ladder and was safely ensconced in academia did she find religion. She chose to do nothing while he, with her complicity, remained in a position where he could menace others. She has never taken responsibility for her own actions much less apologized, even partially. Now she holds herself up as a brave hero.
for her behavior.
+29 # Jim Rocket 2019-04-27 15:23
Are you angling for a job in the White House?
+15 # treerapper 2019-04-28 02:33
Profound ignorance. Not everyone has the ability to walk away from employment. What happened to Anita Hill is not that uncommon in work environments. Male bosses seem to feel that sexual abuse is part of their entitlement as a boss. You, joejamchicago, are an example of the manner in which such abusive actions are viewed. We still live in your world as can be seen from the Kavanaugh hearings. It wouldn't matter to those of your ilk when claims of abuse were made or how the abused was able to deal with the abuse. The fact remains that Hill's accusations, as with Stormy Daniels, as with Christine Blasey Ford didn't matter. And, that's what's relevant and that's NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!
-5 # B Julian 2019-04-28 04:36
Says you!
+4 # economagic 2019-04-28 22:01
Troll, or what?
+16 # janie1893 2019-04-27 13:33
The only way to get rid of Trump is to ignore him, totally. His ego demands recognition and frequent stroking. If the whole world would pretend, just for one week, that Donald Trump does not exist, we would be free of this living, breathing incarnation of chaos. He would disappear in a puff of smoke!!
+9 # lfeuille 2019-04-27 22:40
That is not possible. He has to much executive power. Now he's going to pull out of the arms trade treaty because the NRA doesn't like. You just can ignore stuff like this.
+26 # carp 2019-04-27 13:50
What is your stance on net neutrality Mr. VP asks Comcast as they hand over $700,000.
+10 # DongiC 2019-04-28 04:21
Trump is the incarnation of evil, Biden is its masquerade. They are both reprehensible and deserve to be cast out. Sanders is preparing for a political exorcism of both. Amen!
+1 # economagic 2019-04-28 22:04
Well put.
+8 # B Julian 2019-04-28 04:41
The article is about the Biden/Anita Hill debacle and yet comments segue into rants about other subjects; chiefly, Donald Trump! Are our minds so small that this is where we go in response?
Anita Hill, for those you recall, managed somehow to hold her place, and her dignity, during excruciatingly (and bizarre) confirmation hearings of a man who was NOT qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. That was made patently obvious during the hearings.
As one commentator observed, "nothing has changed". Heteropatriarch y is still the rule and certainly at the centre of our nation's ills.
+13 # dascher 2019-04-28 09:15
Clearly you have never been in the shoes of anybody who has gone through the kind of treatment Anita Hill went through when working for Clarence Thomas. If you think she would have been listened to any better or not lost her job if she'd spoken about him sooner, you have no idea what things were like for women, especially Black women in those days. Thomas was a poison pill that Bush Sr. came up with to dare the Dems to reject a Black man for the "Black"seat on the Supreme Court, previously held by Thurgood Marshall. The Dems could have rejected him but they thought they would have risked alienating a significant proportion of the Black electorate by doing so. It was a clever ploy by Bush Sr. where he would either way. Thomas has been one of the most awful justices to ever serve on the Court. His few opinions barely have a patina of logic or of judicial reasoning to cover their fairly blatant (and political) positions. His extra-judicial activities have often crossed the ethical lines that generations of Supreme Court Justices have respected. He has been a lead weight on the Court - not so much a 'conservative' in his votes as a reactionary with an agenda to support states powers to abuse women, black and brown people, and the poor in favor of large corporate interests.
+5 # madresabia 2019-04-29 07:16
Come on, Joe. You had your chance. Go home!
+8 # KRISTINGLOVER 2019-04-29 09:02
Biden needs to get down on his knees to apologize to all US citizens for making sure that that pervert, Clarence Thomas, got confirmed & has sat on The Supreme Court as the right wing poison he is for nearly 28 years - & God knows how many more?
And his BS disingenuous lame “apology” to Anita Hill? He’s “sorry” he couldn’t figure out a better way to help her prove her allegations? Really?? Really??? He was chair of the Judiciary Committee!! She had other witnesses who wanted to come forward to corroborate her testimony and Biden prevented it! Now he’s “sorry” he fumbled the ball? Don’t think so. He deliberately colluded to scuttle her testimony and not only destroyed her life at that time - causing her untold suffering - but gave us “the gift” of Clarence Thomas. No. Biden’s Luke warm feeble “apology” does not suffice.