Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says the political machine bent on destroying his character during his contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991 was more frightening to him than the lynch mobs of the Ku Klux Klan.
In his first cable news interview, Thomas added that the sexual allegations leveled against him by former aide Anita Hill was just one strategy employed to tarnish his reputation.
Watch Sean Hannity's interview with Justice Thomas Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET on FOX News Channel.
"This is just a weapon of sorts," Thomas told FOX News. "There were other weapons that were chosen during the confirmation where they were trying to knock me off. And this was just one more weapon and it isn't so much about that. I mean, the reason I covered it is because it happened. And there would be more made of it if I didn't cover it."
Thomas sat down with Sean Hannity in Washington to set the record straight and talk about his new book, "My Grandfather's Son."
"For all the fear I had known as a boy in Savannah, this was the first time I found myself at the mercy of people who would do whatever they could to hurt me," the Georgia native wrote in the book. "And the institution that had once prided themselves on bringing segregation and its abuses to an end were aiding and abetting in the assault."
Thomas said what started out as the crowning moment of his career — a nomination to the nation's highest court announced by President George H.W. Bush from his Kennebunkport, Maine, retreat — became one of the biggest challenges of his life.
"To have people just over these issues besmirch everything, destroy every moment, and you can't find in a single point — from Kennebunkport on — one moment of joy, one moment of glee, one moment of saying, this is really fun or spectacular or something that is a crown jewel of a life," he said.
Thomas, born in Pin Point, Ga., outside Savannah and raised by his grandparents, credits his grandfather with giving him the tools to succeed.
"I'm my grandfather's son and that's good enough for me," he said. "You know, he was very, very independent. That's why we had to produce our own, learn how to do all our work, he wanted to rely on no one to do their part. Out of that use of freedom, proper use of freedom, you become independent."
The Supreme Court justice said he'd never seen himself as anything more than an ordinary person but wanted to put down an accurate record of his own.
"I'm not in the PR business," Thomas said. "I write, I decide cases and write opinions and we are pretty cloistered here. ... I had an obligation to record how we really lived and more about my life."
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' exclusive cable news interview with Sean Hannity will air at 9 p.m. ET on FOX News Channel.