A day after announcing his 2020 presidential bid, former Vice President Joe Biden continued to offer passive apologies to law professor Anita Hill for how he handled her sexual harassment allegations against now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.
“I’m sorry she was treated the way she was treated,” Biden said Friday on “The View” in his first interview since announcing his presidential campaign. “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.”
As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee during Thomas’ confirmation hearing, Biden declined to allow testimony from several witnesses who could have supported Hill’s claims.
Hill again criticized Biden in a New York Times interview published Thursday.
“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you,” Hill said. “I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”
“The View” co-host Joy Behar on Friday pointed out what Biden could have said.
“I think what she wants you to say is, ‘I’m sorry for the way I treated you,’ not for the way you were treated,” Behar told Biden. “I think that might be closer.”
“I’m sorry [for] the way she got treated,” Biden replied. “I don’t think I treated her badly.”
On Friday, Biden also declined to directly apologize to the several women who have alleged that he inappropriately touched them and invaded their personal space.
“I have to be much more aware of the private space of men and women — it’s not just women, but primarily women,” he said on “The View.” “I’m really sorry if what I did in talking to them, trying to console, that in fact they took it a different way.”
“I’m sorry this happened, but I’m not sorry in the sense that I did anything that was intentionally designed to be inappropriate,” he said later.
This story has been updated with additional comments from Biden.