‘We have to as a people have to be ready to forgive…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams defended former Vice President Joe Biden against allegations from multiple women who have accused him of inappropriate touching, arguing that no candidate is perfect.
Abrams—whom Biden previously hinted he might tap as his vice presidential running mate if he announces a bid for the White House—told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Biden pledged to change his behavior and that should be enough.
“We cannot have perfection as a litmus test,” Abrams said. “The responsibility of leaders is to not be perfect but to be accountable—to say, ‘I made a mistake, I understand it and here’s what I’m going to do to reform as I move forward.'”
Abrams said Biden had met that standard of accountability.
“I think the vice president has acknowledged the discomfort he’s caused. He has created context for why that is his behavior, and he has confirmed that he will do something different going forward,” she said.
Others may be more doubtful, however.
More than five women have come forward recounting awkward experiences in which Biden touched them without their consent. Lucy Flores, a former Nevada assemblywoman, made the first accusation, and since then, several more have come forward.
But the allegations—surfacing publicly in the rare moment during primaries when left-wing politicians and their media allies turn their criticisms inward—are hardly a flash in the pan.
Other footage of Biden re-emerged, including uncomfortable images of him mouth-kissing the wife of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; whispering sweet nothings to the underage daughter of Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.; and massaging the shoulders of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter‘s wife.
But with actual consequences at stake, Abrams said Biden’s coerced statements of remorse were punishment enough.
“We have to as a people have to be ready to forgive,” she said. “But forgiveness does not mean you accept it unless what you see is accountability.”
Although the images were alarming enough to spark commentary in their original, contemporary context, Biden said “social norms” had changed with the recent onset of the #MeToo movement.
That effort has brought to light the “open secrets” of rape, harassment and misconduct by dozens of prominent, public figures—including movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.
Biden vowed to be more conscientious of respecting the personal boundaries of strangers and those who had not granted prior consent, but he stopped short of apologizing to accusers and other victims for his past behavior.
“I’ll always believe governing—and, quite frankly, life, for that matter—is about connecting, about connecting with people,” Biden said. “That won’t change. But I will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space.”
In her MSNBC interview, Abrams also denied rumors that she was in discussions with the Biden team about accepting a running mate offer. The two reportedly had a private meeting in March, fueling speculation—and criticism that Abrams was being used as a political prop.
Abrams told “Morning Joe” that she might enter the Democratic primary field on her own.
“I do not believe you run for second place,” she said. “I do not intend to enter the presidential race as a primary candidate for vice president. If I enter the race for president, I will enter the race for president.”