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Joe Biden says Christine Blasey Ford ‘should be treated with respect’, apologizes for the way he handled Anita Hill’s testimony 27 years ago

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  • 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’


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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” target=”_blank” 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


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

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.”

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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 was widely criticized for his handling of Thomas' nomination.play

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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Kenya: Odinga Calls for Food Banks Before Total Lockdown

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The Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga has supported calls for a total lockdown in case the Covid-19 cases become adverse, but challenged the government to first plan on how to ensure sustainable food distribution to poor Kenyans.

Mr Odinga said there is need for the creation of food banks to help Kenyans especially the urban poor in case of a lockdown should the coronavirus cases persist.

“We have faith in the government and whatever action it has taken to deal with this pandemic. I however, call on plans to cushion the public against its effects by providing food especially in slum areas in case of a total lockdown as we battle the monster,” Mr Odinga said during a Friday morning interview on Citizen TV.

The former prime minister said Kenya’s sole aim at the moment is how to tackle the pandemic currently ravaging the globe and should not hesitate to make adverse decisions for the sake of Kenyans safety.

He pointed out that the government should pay keen attention on areas such as Kibra, Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Mathare, Kangemi among other slum areas in Nairobi as well as urban counties of Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu and Kakamega in terms of food supply.

Mr Odinga also challenged leaders not just to stay at homelike any other ordinary Kenyans but instead come out and offer a helping hand to the poor majority.

“Politicians must not keep quiet and just stay at home. Those fond of attending Church harambees during the weekends must now come out and spend such funds to offer help to Kenyans at this time of the pandemic,”Mr Odinga said.

Mr Odinga added that Kenyans, particularly legislators and politicians, must not shy away from declaring their status on coronavirus and taking necessary steps to avert its spread but warned Kenyans against spread of malicious propaganda of their status.

“To suffer from the virus is not a crime. Let nobody be ashamed of declaring his or her status and isolate. Let us be like those great leaders in Europe who have taken a bold step to declare their status and consequently go for isolation.”

He also condemned the originators of a fake list of legislators purportedly suffering from the virus in the Country.

“It is wrong to speculate on ones health. Let us not use the pandemic to play politics and to tarnish other people’s names,” added Mr Odinga.

He told Kenyans to cooperate and heed to the government’s demands to deal with the virus and cautioned police against extensive use of force to deal with Kenyans during curfew.

“Police must handle Kenyans with gentleness. They must not beat up Kenyans and Kenyans must also be disciplined and uphold the law. You must observe curfew hours and follow the law,” Mr Odinga said.

He also welcomed the government’s plans to import maize in its efforts to avert a food crisis as it battles the spread of Covid-19.

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“I support Peter Munya (Agriculture Cabinet Secretary) on this. The government is at liberty to import maize to address the shortage especially during this time of the Covid-19 spread” he said.

The government has authorised the importation of four million bags of maize to avert a food crisis as it fights the virus.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said the government would import two million bags of white maize for human consumption and another two million bags of yellow maize to be processed as animal feed.

On the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), Mr Odinga regretted that its implementation timelines could be interrupted but was quick to add that process had not been stopped.”

“Reggae (BBI implementation process) has not stopped. Reggae is still on. We are just on half time,” the ODM leader stated.