Jill Biden, wife of Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, stirred controversy Tuesday when she opined “It’s time to move on” from questions dogging Joe Biden about his treatment of Anita Hill during the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings for then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
In an interview with NPR, Jill Biden noted that her husband had reached out to Hill recently, spoken with her and “apologized for the way the hearings were run. And so now it’s kind of — it’s time to move on.”
Jill Biden’s comments mirrored those of the “nonapology apology” her husband has continued to make, generating the same level of dissatisfaction Joe Biden’s did when critics, including Hill herself, pointed out that he has refused to simply apologize to the law professor.
As Hill told the New York Times, she was dissatisfied with what she described as Joe Biden’s regrets for “what she endured,” adding:
“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you.’ I will be satisfied when I know that there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”
After Jill Biden’s comments Tuesday, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza was among numerous critics to blast the former second lady, saying in part on Twitter, that Jill Biden needed to “do better.” That instead of a wrongheaded “stand by your man” move, Biden could have said something to the effect that her husband had been “wrong” and was “working to change”:
In 1991, Hill accused Thomas of sexually harassing her at more than one job at which they had worked together, charges Thomas denies. Hill and her supporters say that Joe Biden, as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing Thomas’ confirmation to the nation’s highest court, failed to protect her from character attacks or allow the testimony of other women who could have corroborated her claims.
In discussing what prompted her husband to call Hill when he did after so many years had passed, Jill Biden told NPR:
“I think he didn’t know whether she would take his call, and he was so happy that she did take his call, and they spoke,” she said. “And I think he was, you know, I think they came to an agreement.”
After Jill Biden’s comments Tuesday, critics like Garza came down hard across the spectrum, from activists like Charlene Carruthers to academics like Tressie McMillan Cottom and entertainers like Reagan Gomez: