Skip to main content

‘Despicable — and Telling’: Joe Biden Dragged on Twitter for Waiting Two Decades to Apologize to Anita Hill


Former Vice President Joe Biden reached out to Brandeis University Law Prof. Anita Hill earlier this month for his role in the infamous Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirming hearings, and it wasn’t well received. For many, the “I’m sorry” came two decades too late.

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

People noticed the timing of Biden’s apology. He finally announced his run for president on Thursday, amid allegations that he inappropriately touched women. The apology came weeks before the announcement of a presidential bid.

Biden, then a Democratic senator out of Delaware, oversaw the 1991 hearings as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Hill had detailed her allegation that conservative Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas–her supervisor at the U.S. Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission–sexually harassed her.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested she based her claim in part on a novel, and Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) read a statement from an anonymous federal prosecutor (who was reportedly part of Thomas’ defense team) saying that she might have passed a polygraph test because she was delusional, according to a Times article looking back at the hearings. General consensus nowadays is that Hill was treated terribly. Biden has been drubbed for enabling this treatment, and not calling up three witnesses who would’ve backed up Hill’s allegation.

She definitely hasn’t forgotten, and declined to even describe Biden’s words as an apology.

“The focus on apology to me is one thing,” Hill said in the new report. “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. And not just women. There are women and men now who have just really lost confidence in our government to respond to the problem of gender violence.”

Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield described the conversation like this: “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.”

Biden’s role in the Hill hearings have plagued him for a while, even more so in recent months. He finally announced on Thursday that he’s running for president, but this comes after former Nevada assemblywoman Lucy Flores said he smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head during a 2014 political event.

People have noted for a while that the former vice president is a touchy-feely kind of person. Even still, some women still support him.

Biden released a videotaped statement saying he promised to respect people’s physical boundaries from now on, and attributed the controversy to changing social norms.

Nonetheless, the Hill issue is likely to follow Biden around the campaign trail.

[Image via CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: