Anita Hill on President Trump’s Use of the Word “Lynching”

Before #MeToo, there was Anita Hill. Nearly three decades ago, the law professor made the life-changing decision to testify against the confirmation of then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, and in doing so, gripped the nation. She sits down with Christiane to discuss harassment, abuse and the politics of today.

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AMANPOUR: I want to ask you about that. Quickly, Trump using the word lynching about the impeachment process.

HILL: Oh, that is ludicrous. It is just ludicrous. The idea that a person with this kind of power and authority could co-opt this language on his own personal behalf is ludicrous and insulting, and we need to call it out for that, but we also have to go back to the reality that this is a tactic. This is a tactic. It’s a divisive tactic to get people to push back on any kind of challenges. And so, it’s not really that different from what happened in 1991.

AMANPOUR: Again, on the theme of equality and accountability, you’ve obviously said, and many do, that, you know, gender equality in any walk of life, particularly in politics and governance and leadership just changes the whole playing field. There’s six, as I said, female candidates right now for president on the Democratic side. Do you believe that this country is misogynistic still, that it will not vote for a female?

HILL: Well, the country did vote for a female in the last election. So, I —

AMANPOUR: But the electoral college needs —

HILL: But — yes. So, the electoral college maybe doesn’t reflect the country, and maybe that’s the problem. So, I think that we, in order — what we don’t often comprehend is to get beyond gender discrimination, to move beyond. We’ve got to deal with a whole lot of other kinds of discrimination too, because women come in all kinds of forms and shapes and fashions and races and sexualities and sexual identities, and if we can say, OK, well, I’m not going to discriminate against you on the basis of your gender, but I’m going to discriminate against this woman on the basis of her race, then we’re never going to get full gender equality. You can’t parse it out. And so, we’re going to have to deal with a lot of other biased to get to full gender equality. And so — and I say that as someone who has dealt with the intersection of race and gender. That’s not the only intersection there is, but that is an important one for us to really kind of wrap our brains around and understand that those overlapping biases can push women back individually and as a group.

AMANPOUR: And finally, have you decided who to endorse and have you forgiven Joe Biden for what happened in 1991?

HILL: I have not decided who to — I never endorse a presidential candidate for one, so this is not new. And have I forgiven Joe Biden? I’m ready to move on.

About This Episode EXPAND

Anita Hill sits down with Christiane Amanpour to reflect on harassment, abuse and the politics of today. Noah Feldman weighs in on the impeachment inquiry and abuse of power with Walter Isaacson. Jokha Alharthi discusses her second novel, “Celestial Bodies,” with the book’s translator Marilyn Booth.