Former Vice President Joe Biden called Anita Hill to express “his regret for what she endured” during the Clarence Thomas hearings but Hill says the call left her “deeply unsatisfied,” The New York Times reports.
Biden has long drawn criticism for allowing Hill, who accused Thomas of sexual harassment ahead of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, to be publicly harangued by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee that he chaired.
According to The Times, Biden reached out to Hill through an intermediary as he planned to launch his presidential campaign and arranged a call.
According to the Biden campaign, the former veep called Hill to share “his regret for what she endured.” According to Hill, the call left her “deeply unsatisfied” and she “declined to characterize Mr. Biden’s words to her as an apology and said she was not convinced that he has taken full responsibility for his conduct at the hearings — or for the harm he caused other victims of sexual harassment and gender violence,” per The Times.
Hill says Biden ‘set the stage’ for Brett Kavanaugh:
Hill said she blamed Biden for having “set the stage” for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in college. She said she was also disturbed by the accounts of at least seven women who said Biden made them feel uncomfortable.
“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you,’” Hill told The Times. “I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”
She added that she did not find Biden’s past actions to be disqualifying from the presidency but said she cannot support him unless he takes “full responsibility for his conduct.”
Hill said that Biden failed to allow other women to be called as corroborating witnesses for her claims.
“The focus on apology, to me, is one thing,” Hill 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. 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.”
Hill’s corroborating witnesses slam Biden for silencing them:
Sukari Hardnett, an attorney who wanted to speak to the committee on behalf of Hill, told The Times that she decided to come forward when “saw what they were doing to Anita Hill and how they were literally trying to trash her.”
Hardnett, who says she had her own allegations against Thomas, said she submitted her account to the committee but was never called.
Another woman, Angela Wright, said she also sought to testify but called Biden “pretty much useless.”
“Ms. Wright, Ms. Hartnett and one other woman, Rose Jourdain, who died in 2010, were ready to back up Ms. Hill’s account before the committee, but Mr. Biden ended the hearings before they were heard from in public,” The Times reported. “Over the years, Mr. Biden has suggested they either backed out or were reluctant.”
Hill said that there was “no evidence” of Biden’s claim.
“They saw a flawed process where they weren’t going to be heard and they might end up being destroyed,” she said.