Biden reveals Anita Hill hearing regret

In an interview on NBC News, former Vice President Joe Biden reveals his biggest regret during Anita Hill's Senate hearing.

Posted: Sep 22, 2018 2:24 PM
Updated: Sep 22, 2018 2:52 PM

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that he understood at the time of the Anita Hill hearing the gravity of women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment or assault and the importance of how they are treated.

Biden has faced criticism for years over his handling of Hill's hearing. As Senate Judiciary Committee chairman in 1991, Biden presided over the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during which Hill alleged she faced sexual harassment by the then-nominee. The episode, which draws striking parallels to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process in the midst of sexual assault allegations, looms over Biden as he considers a presidential run in 2020.

"The woman should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be abused again by the system," Biden said in an interview with NBC Friday. "My biggest regret was, I didn't know how I could shut you off because you were a senator and you were attacking Anita Hill's character...She got victimized during the process."

"It seems like you get it now, versus in '91," NBC's Craig Melvin later said.

"Well I think I got it in '91," Biden responded, noting he drafted the Violence Against Women Act. "People have their own opinion."

Hill has long been critical of Biden's approach to the hearings and earlier this week, said she has yet to receive a direct apology from the former vice president.

"He owes all of us an apology," Hill told the Boston Globe. "He owes the country an apology because the affront was not just to me. It was really a disservice to every one of us — not just on behalf of sexual harassment victims but also on behalf of those people who believe in the integrity of the court and that it should be protected by the Senate, whose role is to advise on judicial nominations."

The Senate Judiciary Committee is negotiating the terms of a potential hearing with Professor Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of physically and sexually assaulting her at a party during their high school years. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Biden said he thinks an FBI investigation into the allegations should be conducted and urged the committee to learn from the lessons of the Thomas hearings 27 years ago, stressing they should not engage in "character assassination."

"So much has changed about how the public understands the pressure on women. And I've learned a lot, as well too," he said. "She should not have to go through what Anita Hill went through and some of the questions that she got asked and the way the right went after her on national television and questioned her integrity and questioned her, not just her honesty, questioned her behavior."

"That's just not appropriate," he added. "You shouldn't have to be twice put through the same exact thing."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 493832

Reported Deaths: 33418
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens760577290
Kings743397382
Bronx548924985
Nassau492032208
Suffolk485622019
Westchester400411470
New York356103192
Rockland17635683
Richmond170041094
Orange13413505
Erie12782713
Monroe7070300
Dutchess5421163
Onondaga5277207
Albany3549136
Broome333083
Oneida2670128
Ulster245995
Niagara2032101
Putnam178863
Sullivan172548
Chemung15443
Schenectady153950
Saratoga129517
Rensselaer107342
Steuben95157
Chautauqua87713
Columbia66938
Ontario63535
Oswego6094
Tompkins5930
Madison55717
Tioga54930
Cortland4960
Greene48918
Cattaraugus4556
Warren44833
Wayne4325
Orleans38554
Herkimer38410
Otsego3845
St. Lawrence3824
Genesee3795
Chenango3657
Fulton36124
Cayuga3522
Washington33014
Livingston2728
Allegany2691
Montgomery2614
Clinton2365
Jefferson1990
Essex1960
Wyoming1795
Delaware1687
Seneca1403
Schuyler1150
Yates1117
Schoharie1070
Lewis920
Franklin790
Hamilton160
Unassigned020
Utica
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 40°
Oneonta
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 38°
Herkimer
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 40°
Thendara
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 40°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
VOTE OCTOBER 22-30
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left