Political figures and celebrities — including Mia Farrow, Stacey Abrams, and a former aide to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign — are calling out former vice president and potential 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Their criticism surrounds the “white man’s culture” which Joe Biden lamented in remarks made on Tuesday, an alleged environment which prevented Anita Hill from getting a fair hearing after she accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.
On Tuesday, Biden spoke out about his own role in the 1991 Thomas confirmation hearings that saw Hill, who is black, face a panel of “a bunch of white guys.” Biden expressed regret for not having been able to do something to prevent it, according to a Fox News report.
“To this day I regret I couldn’t come up with a way to give her the kind of hearing she deserved,” Biden said at an event at the Russian Tea Room in New York City on Tuesday night. “I wish I could have done something.”
Following his remarks, social media users took to Twitter to point out that there were a plethora of actions Biden could have taken at the time — considering he was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to Fox News. Amongst those who criticized Biden’s remarks was Jessica Morales Rocketto, a former aide to the Clinton 2016 presidential campaign, who argued that the former vice president’s apologies were nothing but empty words.
“It literally does not matter what else Biden says about sexual assault if he cannot acknowledge his own culpability in putting a sexual assaulter on the Supereme [sic] Court and then pretending for years like he was powerless to stop it,” Morales Rocketto, who now serves as the political director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said on Twitter late Tuesday. She paired her tweet with the hashtags “#BelieveSurvivors” and “#IBelieveAnita.”
Morales Rocketto was far from being alone in her condemnation of Biden’s assertion that there was nothing he could have done at the time. Mia Farrow also took to Twitter to call Biden’s role in the 1991 hearing “shameful,” the Fox News report added.
Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams also addressed the comments on Wednesday, declaring that whether Biden has taken enough responsibility for the role he played during the 1991 proceedings remains to be determined. However, she said that the vice president deserves credit for publicly recognizing the pain and hardship endured by Hill at the time — and in the years that followed — according to ABC News.
“I think he’s begun the process appropriately by saying I know there’s pain, and I want to respond to that pain,” Abrams said.