Anita Hill, who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment nearly three decades ago, said she is willing to overlook Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s “mistakes” and vote for him.
“Notwithstanding all of his limitations in the past, and the mistakes that he made in the past, notwithstanding those — at this point, between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, I think Joe Biden is the person who should be elected in November,” Hill told CNN. “It’s more about the survivors of gender violence. That’s really what it’s about.”
Biden served as the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 when Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment in the middle of the Supreme Court confirmation process. Hill is now professor of social policy, law, and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Brandeis University.
“My commitment is to finding solutions, and I am more than willing to work with [Biden],” Hill told CNN.
“One of the impacts of 1991 was my desire not to really work with the government in any way,” she said. “I always said, I think I can be more effective as an outsider, as opposed to an insider. And now, I’m willing to evolve myself, to work for change inside.”
Biden has faced questions about his involvement in the Thomas hearing and his handling of Hill’s allegations. He has apologized for the way Hill was treated, but defended his own conduct. In 2019, Biden had a private conversation with Hill during which he expressed his regret for the treatment Hill received, but she reportedly wasn’t satisfied with his comments.
Former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said that Biden told him during the 1991 proceedings that he did not believe Anita Hill in the FOX Nation documentary, “The Confirmation Chronicles Vol. 2: High-Tech Lynching.”
“Biden told me personally that he didn’t believe her. He said, ‘I don’t know why she did this.’ I don’t mean to malign Joe, but Joe told me he didn’t believe her and there were some others that told me that, too,” said Hatch.
At the time, then-Sen. Hatch was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
During the hearings, Thomas adamantly denied Hill’s accusations that he made inappropriate sexual remarks, including references to pornographic movies. Thomas admitted that he did talk about X-rated movies while at Yale Law School, adding that so did many other young people in the 1970s.
After more than 100 days that captivated the country, Thomas was confirmed by a narrow majority of 52 to 48. Biden voted against sending Thomas to the Supreme Court.
Biden has faced his own claim of sexual misconduct from former Senate staffer Tara Reade, who claimed that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993. Biden has been adamant that the incident never happened.
Reade revealed during a May interview with Fox News that the treatment of Hill during the 1991 confirmation of Thomas influenced her to stay silent about her allegation against Biden.
Fox News’ Matt London, Joseph A. Wulfsohn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.