Days after Anita Hill rejected former Vice President Joe Biden’s apology, he’s trying again.
“I apologize for it,” he told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts on Monday's show, in a bid to take responsibility for how Hill was treated during her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 about the sexual harassment she said she endured at the hands of now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
“She did not get a fair hearing. She did not get treated well,” said Biden, who chaired the committee at the time. “I take responsibility for that. Because I was the chairman. I was unable to find out a way to how to change it.”
Biden called Hill earlier this month to share “his regret for what she endured,” more than a quarter-century after Hill testified. He announced his bid for the 2020 presidential Democratic primary a few weeks later.
But Hill told the New York Times last week that she didn’t believe he really took responsibility for what happened, and that Biden didn’t truly apologize to her.
“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you,’” Hill said. “I will be satisfied when I know that there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”
In his public remarks about his treatment of Hill, Biden has largely expressed regret about the controversy but avoided an actual apology or acknowledgement of culpability. As recently as Friday, during an interview with "The View," Biden told the all-female hosts, “I am sorry for the way she was treated. I wish we could have figured out a better way to get this thing done.”
“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,’” co-host Joy Behar told Biden. “I think that would be closer.”
“I’m sorry the way she got treated,” Biden replied. “If you go back and look at what I said and didn’t say, I don’t think I treated her badly.”
Echoes of that passive language still lingered during his "Good Morning America" interview.
“Look, here’s the deal: She just did not get treated fair across the board,” Biden said. “The system did not work.”
Cover: Former U.S. vice president Joe Biden speaks during his first campaign event as a candidate for US President at Teamsters Local 249 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 29, 2019. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)