“Sorry,” it seems, is a word foreign to Joe Biden.
Following his non-apology to accusers of inappropriate touching, the former US Vice President and now presidential candidate is in hot waters again. This time, for refusing to apologize to Anita Hill.
In 1991, Biden, who was then a senator, led the judiciary committee which handled the case of law professor Anita Hill’s sexual harassment accusations against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Reminiscent of the Dr. Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanugh case, it was criticized for being unfair and insensitive. New York Times described what happened this way: “Ms. Hill was the reluctant witness, a young African-American law professor who had worked with Justice Thomas and was grilled in excruciatingly graphic detail by an all-white, all-male Judiciary Committee led by Mr. Biden, then a senator from Delaware.”
According to NPR, “Hill herself has long made it clear that Biden had never apologized to her and that she still resented the way she was treated.”
Biden must have known it was going to be a big problem in the presidential race. In fact, the first day of his campaign, his camp revealed that he had a private discussion with Hill, wherein he expressed “his regret for what she endured” 28 years ago, as well as “his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country.”
I will never forget the horror of watching Christine Blasey Ford testify to the Senate like a hero, only to have her words thoroughly discounted. So yes, how we treat Anita Hill is still relevant right now.
— Maris Kreizman (@mariskreizman) April 26, 2019
He will not get my vote in the primary. I cannot believe he is running. Calling Anita Hill now, more than 20 years after what he did to her is one of the more grossly political things I've seen. https://t.co/hslhwlFatz
— roxane gay (@rgay) April 26, 2019
Clearly, the “gimmick” (the timing is tacky, to say the least) didn’t go as planned. In an interview with NYT, Anita said she was not convinced that Biden “has taken full responsibility for his conduct at the hearings—or for the harm he caused other victims of sexual harassment and gender violence.”
She further said she believes Biden “set the stage” for last year’s confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh—just like how Justice Thomas was confirmed. Prof. Hill also admitted she was “troubled by the recent accounts of women who say Mr. Biden touched them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.”
“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you,’” she said. “I will be satisfied when I know that there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”
And while she insisted that she’s “really open to people changing,” she explained she cannot support Biden for president until he takes full responsibility for his actions. She specifically mentioned Biden’s “failure to call as corroborating witnesses other women who were willing to testify before the Judiciary Committee.” According to her, his decision created a “he said, she said” situation that further compromised her position in the case.
“The focus on an apology, to me, is one thing,” she continued. “But there needs to be an apology to the other witnesses and there needs to be an apology 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.”
Now, you would have thought Biden would then issue a sincere apology after what Prof. Hill said. But no. Appearing on The View, he told the show’s five female co-hosts: “I don’t think I treated her badly.”
Clearly, he didn’t pay attention to Speaker Pelosi, who said in the wake of inappropriate touching controversies against him that what’s important in cases like this “is how [victims] receive it and not necessarily how you intended it.”
Even the hosts of The View could see his so-called apology— “I am sorry she was treated the way she was treated”— was basically BS. Joy Behar told him, “I think what she wants you to say is, ‘I’m sorry for how I treated you … not ‘for the way you were treated.’”’ She even presented him with the chance to redeem himself. “Here’s your opportunity right now to just say you apologize, you’re sorry. I think we can clean this up right now,” she said. But Biden remained stubborn and insisted that he couldn’t control how other members of the committee behaved during the proceedings. Citing the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, he claimed, “We’re all still looking for how do you change the process of the hearings.” The closest he came to an apology was towards the end of the discussion, when he admitted, “Look, there are a lot of mistakes made across the board, and for those I apologize.”
But we’re not convinced. It’s worth noting that Biden stressed that he believed Prof. Hill from the beginning. But according to The Federalist, in 1998, he admitted to Sen. Arlen Specter that “It was clear to me from the way she was answering the questions, [Hill] was lying,” referring to a key part of her testimony.
Furthermore, when asked by co-host Ana Navarro about why it took him until this year to call Hill, his lame explanation was that he didn’t want to “invade her space.”
Oh please. Forgive us if we don’t believe him for claiming he cares about her “space.” Not after, as The Intercept noted, “He allowed a panel of 14 white men to bully and demean her, [while consistently appearing] more sympathetic to Thomas, whom he allowed to testify twice, while his accuser testified only once.” Not to mention, the fact that he “oversaw a rushed process, against the wishes of a number of female colleagues at the time.”
If anything, Biden’s apology only proves that he too is a misogynistic politician who only thinks of himself and can’t even take responsibility for his past actions. Also, he and his camp is stupid. Their oh-so-obvious damage control is one of the worst ones I’ve seen yet. The two aren’t really qualities you’d want to see in a President. But hey, we have them right now. So who knows?
Biden might still win this. But hopefully not. Please not.
Art by Tricia Guevara
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