‘The boundaries of personal space have been reset, and I get it. I get it…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) After multiple women came forward accusing former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate behavior and touching, the 2020 presidential hopeful pledged to be more mindful of personal space, without apologizing for his past actions.
Biden said his physical contact with both men and women, whether it was handshakes, hugs, or shoulder grabs, was a way he showed support to his friends.
He admitted that social norms have changed and that his behavior must as well.
Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it. pic.twitter.com/Ya2mf5ODts.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 3, 2019
“In my career, I’ve always tried to make a human connection. That’s my responsibility. I shake hands, I hug people, I grab men and women by the shoulders and say, ‘You can do this.’ Whether they’re men, women, young, old, it’s the way I’ve always been. It’s the way I’ve tried to show I care about them and I’m listening,” Biden said.
“Social norms have changed, they’ve shifted,” he continued. “And the boundaries of personal space have been reset, and I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying. I understand it. And I’ll be much more mindful — that’s my responsibility, and I’ll meet it.”
Biden’s habit of indiscriminately touching and kissing women has never been accepted — throughout the years he’s been dubbed “Creepy Uncle Joe” because of various pictures and video that captured his uncomfortable interactions with women.
Several women have accused Biden of past inappropriate behavior. Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state representative, said Biden kissed her head during a campaign event without her consent.
“I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze,” Flores wrote in an article for The Cut. “Why is the vice president of the United States touching me? He proceeded to plant a big, slow kiss on the back of my head.”
Amy Lappos of Connecticut also accused Biden of grabbing her head and rubbing noses with her during a fundraiser, an unwanted gesture that made her feel uncomfortable.
Two other women, Caitlyn Caruso and D.J. Hill, came forward to express their discomfort with Biden’s overly physical interactions earlier this week. And on Wednesday, three more women — Vail Kohnert-Yount, Sofie Karasek and Ally Coll — told the Washington Post about instances in which Biden touched them without their consent.
Kohnert-Yount told the Post that Biden introduced himself to her when she was a White House intern in 2013.
“He then put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me,” she said. “I was so shocked that it was hard to focus on what he was saying. I remember he told me I was a ‘pretty girl.’
However, Biden did not apologize 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.”
Liberals have jumped to Biden’s defense as the accusations continue to roll in, but other Democratic presidential hopefuls, like Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg have distanced themselves from Biden.
“I haven’t had a chance to view the whole video so I’ll leave it to the VP to say what he wants to say,” Buttigieg said about the former vice president’s response to the allegations, according to The Hill. “What I will say is that all of us today are being held to a very high standard, and that’s not a bad thing.”
Harris and Warren said Biden’s accusers’ stories are important and should be believed.
“I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it,” Harris said at a campaign event on Tuesday.