JOE Biden has claimed he did “everything in my power” to ensure a woman wasn’t treated badly during graphic testimony in which she accused a Supreme Court nominee of sexual harassment.
And although the presidential hopeful has phoned Anita Hill over his “regret for what she endured” 28 years ago, she has blasted his apology.
Biden is competing with 19 others for the Democratic presidential nomination and the chance to likely face President Donald Trump next year in the general election.
The 76-year-old served as former President Barack Obama’s vice president for two terms.
But he has hit the headlines after being accused of “inappropriate touching” and “creepily” invading women’s personal space.
The BBC reports that the White House candidate has rejected an accusation that he treated Anita Hill badly when she accused a Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas, of sexual harassment.
Justice Thomas has denied any inappropriate behaviour.
Activists are unhappy that Hill was questioned in graphic detail by the all-white, all-male committee chaired by Biden.
He said he didn’t think he mistreated Hill, a law professor, in 1991, though he has said publicly he regrets how she was treated.
Biden spoke about the controversial hearing while taking part in his first television interview as a presidential candidate.
Appearing on ABC’s The View, he said today, “I don’t think I treated her badly,” during a discussion about his role as Senate Judiciary Chairman during the contentious confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
‘LONG DONG SILVER’
Biden largely defended his actions as a senator almost 30 years ago, saying he believed Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment levied at Thomas and that he had tried to derail his confirmation.
He told ABC: “I’m sorry she was treated the way she was treated… I don’t think I treated her badly. How do you stop people from asking inflammatory questions?
“There were a lot of mistakes made across the board and for those I apologise.”
Biden praised Hill as remarkable and said she was one of the reasons we have the #MeToo movement.
When quizzed about why he had not reached out to Hill earlier, he replied that he had previously publicly stated he had regrets about her treatment and that he didn’t want to “invade her space”.
In relation to allegations by several women that he has made them feel uncomfortable by touching them at political events, Biden said “I should be able to read [women] better. I have to be more careful.
“I have to be, and everybody has to be much more aware of the private space of men and women.
“It’s not just women, but primarily women… I have to be more careful.”
Anita Hill told The New York Times yesterday that Biden had left her unimpressed with his recent phone call to her.
Biden contacted her before publicly announcing his presidential bid, and expressed his “regret for what she endured”.
Hill told the paper that she wouldn’t describe his words as an apology, and that he had failed to convince her that he had shouldered full responsibility for his treatment of her at the hearings.
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The NYT explains that Hill is a “deeply private woman”, who had been a reluctant witness during the confirmation hearings where she was “grilled in excruciatingly graphic detail” about penis size, pubic hair and a porno star known as Long Dong Silver.
Decades later, she is keen for sexual harassment and gender violence to be a main campaign issue during the Democratic presidential primary, she told the NYT.
Hours after Biden announced his presidential intentions, Trump mocked him on Twitter, saying: “Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe” after he ended months of speculation by entered the 2020 race for the White House.