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Joe Biden: Christine Blasey Ford ‘should be treated with respect’

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Joe Biden
Former
Vice President Joe Biden appeared on the “Today” show Friday
morning.


NBC


  • Former Vice President Joe Biden said on the “Today”
    show Friday that he thinks the FBI should investigate Christine
    Blasey Ford’s claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett
    Kavanaugh.
  • If she agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary
    Committee, Biden said Blasey “deserves to be treated with
    dignity.”
  • He also issued an apology to Anita Hill, who accused
    Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his
    confirmation hearings in 1991, which Biden presided over and
    was widely criticized for.

Former Vice President Joe Biden weighed in on the accusations
against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Friday, while
reflecting on one of the lowest points of his political career —
the testimony of Anita Hill.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation has been brought to a halt by
allegations that he attempted to rape psychology professor
Christine Blasey Ford when they were both in high school in the
1980s.

Ford’s allegations have drawn parallels to Justice Clarence
Thomas’ nomination in 1991, when his former subordinate, Anita
Hill, accused him of sexual harassment.

Biden was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the
time and widely criticized for not shielding Hill from the
all-male committee members’ questions, which were largely
considered sexist. He also didn’t take advantage of the multiple
witnesses who agreed to speak before the committee in support of
Hill.

It looks as though Ford will follow in Hill’s footsteps and tell
her story to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She has also asked
that the FBI investigate her claims.

‘She deserves to be treated with dignity’


Brett Kavanaugh
Supreme
Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been accused attempted to rape
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in the 1980s. He has denied the
allegation.


J.
Scott Applewhite/AP



In an interview on the
“Today”
show Friday morning, Biden supported the idea of an
FBI investigation, saying they had one done in Hill’s case and it
only took two days. If there’s no investigation, he says
Kavanaugh’s nomination should not come to a vote.

If Ford does agree to testify, Biden said he hopes it will be
different this time.

“Anita Hill was vilified when she came forward by a lot of my
colleagues, character assassination,” he said. “I wish I could
have done more to prevent those questions and the way they asked
them. I hope my colleagues learned from that. She deserves to be
treated with dignity.

Biden added: “It takes enormous courage for a woman to come
forward under the bright lights of millions of people watching
and relive something that happened to her … and she should be
treated with respect.”

An apology to Anita Hill


anita hill
Biden
was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 when Anita
Hill (pictured) testified against Clarence
Thomas.


Greg
Gibson/AP



Biden said his biggest regret when it came to Hill’s testimony is
that he didn’t know how to protect her from the other senators on
the panel who attacked her character.

“Under the Senate rules, I can’t gavel you down and say you can’t
ask that question, although I tried. So what happened was, she
got victimized again during the process,” he said.

When asked what he would say to Hill, if she were watching, Biden
said he would apologize.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t stopped the kind of attacks that came to
you,” Biden said. “I never attacked her. I supported her. I
believed her from the beginning and I voted against Clarence
Thomas.”

While he thinks that Kavanaugh should be presumed innocent until
proven guilty, he also believes that women “should be given the
benefit of the doubt.”

“I hope they understand what courage it takes for someone to come
forward and relive what they believe happened to them, and let
them state it,” Biden said. “Treat her with respect, ask tough
questions, ask substantive questions … but don’t go after the
character assassination.”

Things have changed


biden 1991
Biden
was widely criticized for his handling of Thomas’
nomination.


Greg
Gibson/AP



When NBC’s Craig Melvin pointed out that it seemed like Biden
“gets it now,” Biden said he thinks he understood what Hill was
going through 27 years ago as well, but “people have their own
opinion.”

He pointed to his writing the Violence Against Women Act as
evidence of this, as well as his push to get women on the Senate
Judiciary Commit ee after Thomas’ confirmation.

But Biden said it does seem that people are more sensitive to the
plight of female sexual harassment and assault victims today.

“So much has changed since I wrote the Violence Against Women
Act,” he said. “So much has changed about how the public
understands the pressure on women. And I’ve learned a lot, as
well, too.”

Biden’s name consistently lands on Democratic prospects to
challenge President Donald Trump in 2020, and the former vice
president hasn’t yet ruled out running.

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