- Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday stumbled in his apologies to women who said he made them uncomfortable.
- “I’m really sorry if what I did in talking to them, trying to console, that in fact they took it a different way,” Biden said.
- Biden also would not explicitly apologise to Anita Hill for how he behaved in the Clarence Thomas hearings.
- “If you go back and look at what I said and I didn’t say, I don’t think I treated her badly,” he said. “I took on her opposition.”
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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday offered a flimsy apology to both the women who’ve said he made them uncomfortable with unwanted physical contact and Anita Hill.
In an appearance on ABC’s “The View” on Friday – his first TV interview since announcing his campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination – Biden was asked to address the women who’ve come forward and talked about instances in which Biden made them uncomfortable by invading their personal space.
“Here’s the deal: 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. “I’m really sorry if what I did in talking to them, trying to console, that in fact they took it a different way.”
After being pressed further, he added, “Sorry I invaded your space. I’m sorry this happened. But I’m not sorry in the sense that I think I did anything that was intentionally designed to do anything wrong or be inappropriate.”
Biden would also not explicitly apologise to Hill for how he handled Senate hearings into her allegations of sexual harassment against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
Hill faced aggressive questioning from a panel that was all-male and all-white at the time.
“I am sorry she was treated the way she was treated,” Biden said on Friday. “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.”
"Since I had publicly apologized for the way she was treated…I didn't want to, quote, invade her space," Joe Biden says on why he only recently called Anita Hill. "I was grateful she took my call." https://t.co/rxCXj3uvWG pic.twitter.com/hmg3YBVOa0
— The View (@TheView) April 26, 2019
Biden rejected the notion he treated Hill poorly.
“If you go back and look at what I said and I didn’t say, I don’t think I treated her badly,” he said. “I took on her opposition.”
Biden called Hill to apologise in the weeks leading up to his 2020 campaign announcement, but in a story published Thursday, Hill told the New York Times that the former vice president saying “sorry” isn’t enough.
“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.”
Biden has a history of avoiding apologies, which could be a liability for his presidential campaign in an era where many voters are demanding a higher level of personal accountability from politicians.
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