In response to the Brett Kavanaugh accusation, former Vice President and potential presidential hopeful Joe Biden suggested Monday that women who accuse national figures should be presumed to be telling the truth and offered another apology to Justice Clarence Thomas accuser Anita Hill for how he handled her hearing.
Similar to the eleventh-hour Kavanaugh accusation, Hill accused then-federal judge Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his confirmation process in 1991. Biden, who was serving as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, presided over the Thomas hearings and came under heavy fire from the left for, as the Huffington Post puts it, “allowing ― and some said abetting ― an all-white and all-male committee to badger Hill with probing and skeptical questions.”
Biden has since repented of his handling of Hill and did so again on Monday, adding a comment that flies in the face of “innocent until proven guilty.”
Speaking at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Ireland Monday, Biden insisted that he thought Hill “was telling the truth at the beginning ― I really did.”
Women accusing men, particularly national figures, should be presumed to be telling the truth, he said. “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time,” he said, the Washington Post reports. “But nobody fails to understand that this is like jumping into a cauldron.”
Through a spokesperson Monday, Biden called for “a fair and respectful hearing of [Christine Blasey Ford’s] allegations, and that the committee should undertake a thorough and nonpartisan effort to get to the truth, wherever it leads.” He also, of course, called for the Kavanaugh confirmation vote to be postponed, which will likely push it until after the midterm election in which Democrats are hoping to secure a majority in the Senate.
Senate Republicans have offered Ford the chance to testify in either a public or private hearing on Monday. Ford’s lawyer, however, currently says she will not accept the offer to give her testimony under oath, demanding instead that the FBI investigate her claims first. Kavanaugh denies the unsubstantiated accusation, as does the other man named by Ford to have been present during the alleged assault.