Biden Took 28 Years to Call Anita Hill Because He Didn’t Want to ‘Invade Her Space’

Biden Took 28 Years to Call Anita Hill Because He Didn’t Want to ‘Invade Her Space’

The hosts of The View all but begged Joe Biden to offer Anita Hill a direct apology for his treatment of her during Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings in 1991. Biden has had 28 years to contemplate this question and a presidential campaign to focus him, and yet he still does not seem to have a good answer.

Joy Behar opened the discussion by mentioning that Biden recently called Hill to apologize, but that she was not “one hundred percent happy” with what he said. “So here’s your opportunity right now to just say you apologize, you’re sorry. I think we can clean this up right now,” Behar prodded him.

Biden repeated that he was sorry, then meandered through all sorts of justifications in the passive voice: “I’m sorry she was treated the way she was treated. I wish we could have figured out a better way to get this thing done. I did everything in my power to do what I thought was within the rules to be able to stop things.”

Biden was the chariman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and could have put a stop to that treatment at any moment, but didn’t. He does not seem to realize that all this explanation lessens whatever power might be contained in a straightforward apology.

Later, Ana Navarro told him she wished he had called Hill sooner. This led to another meandering answer in which Biden said he had apologize publicly, so did not want to approach her privately and “quote, invade her space.” Which, given the recent controversy over Biden’s inappropriate physical touching, is more than a little tone-deaf.

Behar jumped back in to say that what she thinks Hill wants is for Biden to say “I’m sorry for the way I treated you, not for the way you were treated. I think that would be a little closer.”

Biden then fumbled his way through yet another answer that was more complex than necessary: “But…I’m sorry for the way she got treated…I never heard her say…if you go back and look at what I said and didn’t say, I don’t think I treated her badly.”

Again, Biden chaired the hearings in which Hill was roasted by a bunch of old male senators. Allowing that roasting was tantamount to treating her badly, even if he believed her. Biden still does not seem to realize that, and so this issue will likely dog him for as long as he stays in the campaign.

Watch the clip up top, via ABC.



Gary Legum

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.