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 1:26 PM
Updated: Sep 22, 2018 1:52 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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 250869

Reported Deaths: 5481
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
Lauderdale5724177
Lowndes5238109
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Lamar475363
Washington4734122
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Union337457
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Lincoln293385
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Tate266659
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Pike258176
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Scott241043
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Tippah236246
Simpson232367
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Coahoma223154
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Marion206171
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George197438
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Newton186542
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Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
Cullman7960104
Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
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