His mouth slipped

Oh, gee, how very thoughtful.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. called Anita Hill earlier this month to express his regret over “what she endured” testifying against Justice Clarence Thomas at the 1991 Supreme Court hearings that put a spotlight on sexual harassment of women, according to a spokeswoman for Mr. Biden.

Earlier this month…i.e. just before he announced he’s running for president. Notice anything about that? 1991 was twenty eight years ago. He’s had 28 years to talk to Anita Hill and he does it now, a few minutes before he announces he’s running for president.

Ms. Hill, in an interview Wednesday, said she left the conversation feeling deeply unsatisfied and declined to characterize his words to her as an apology. She said she is not convinced that Mr. Biden truly accepts the harm he caused her and other women who suffered sexual harassment and gender violence.

“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you. I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose,” she said.

Especially when it took him twenty eight years to say even that…and especially when he helped land us with Clarence Thomas on the court…and especially when it was such a rat-bastard thing to do.

“The focus on apology to me is one thing,” she said. “But he needs to give an apology to the other women and to the American public because we know now how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw. And not just women. There are women and men now who have just really lost confidence in our government to respond to the problem of gender violence.”

The Biden campaign said it would have no comment beyond its initial statement.

The Biden campaign can go soak its head.

“They had a private discussion where he shared with her directly his regret for what she endured and his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country,” said Kate Bedingfield, the deputy campaign manager for Mr. Biden, who declared his presidential candidacy on Thursday.

Why? Why did he do that? Anything to do with his decision to run for president? Anything at all?

Where was he before that? Where was he during the past two years? And during the Obama administration? And during the Bush 2 administration? And during the Clinton administration? And during the last couple of years of the Bush 1 administration? That’s a lot of time when he could have shared with her directly his regret for what she endured and his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country. But he didn’t. He didn’t do that until now, when it’s in his interest to pretend he’s not just another oblivious white dude who forgets that white dudes aren’t the only people who count.

I wonder how the conversation went. “Gee, Professor Hill, I’ve been meaning to have this chat for the past 28 years and I just never did manage to find your phone number.”

Mr. Biden has long cast the hearings in passive terms, as something that happened to Ms. Hill, not something he and others did to her. Ms. Hill has said in the past that Mr. Biden has never directly apologized for his actions.

Men are good at that. Men are really really good at that. It’s always something that happened, something that was said, something that was done, but it was never anything they said or did.

Last month, at an event in New York honoring students who fight sexual violence, Mr. Biden acknowledged his role in a moment that remains seared in the minds of many women.

“She faced a committee that didn’t fully understand what the hell this was all about,” he said. “To this day, I regret I couldn’t give her the kind of hearing she deserved. I wish I could have done something.”

He could have; he chose not to.

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