On Thursday, the first day of his presidential campaign, the Biden camp disclosed the call, saying the former vice president had shared with Ms. Hill “his regret for what she endured” 28 years ago, when, as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he presided over the confirmation hearings in which she accused Clarence Thomas, President George Bush’s nominee to the Supreme Court, of sexual harassment.
In a lengthy telephone interview on Wednesday, she declined to characterize Mr. Biden’s words to her as an apology and said she was not convinced that he has taken full responsibility for his conduct at the hearings — or for the harm he caused other victims of sexual harassment and gender violence.
“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you,’” said Ms. Hill, now a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University.
The Biden campaign said Thursday that it would have no comment beyond its initial statement on Ms. Hill’s reaction to the call from Mr. Biden. “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 the deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield.
He has been reluctant to show contrition, but the pressure increased after new questions were raised about his sensitivity toward women.
- Using the word “apologize”: No.
- Acknowledging harm: Yes, but reduced to “what she endured.”
- Acknowledging fault: No.
- Detailing what they did wrong: No.
- Detailing how their actions run contrary to their principles: No.
- Offering support to those who they wronged: No.
- Offering a specific commitment to prevent this from happening again: No.
Factoring in the decades of delay, the timing coincidental with the launch of his campaign, and the arm-twisting necessary to even wring “regret for what she endured” from him, I’m giving this one a solid zero.