Biden Responds to Women’s Allegations: ‘I Will Be More Mindful About Respecting Personal Space’
'In my career, I've always tried to make a human connection'
In a video of himself he released on Wednesday on his Twitter feed, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke directly to the camera and acknowledged he will be more careful from this point forward about his behavior even as he acknowledges that “politics to me has always been about making connections.”
“Social norms are changing,” Biden said in the tweet in which he shared the video.
“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.”
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
A number of women in the past few weeks have come forward and said Biden made them uncomfortable by unwanted touching.
Lucy Flores, a former Nevada legislator — and a Democrat — said last week that in 2014, the-then vice president made her feel uneasy when he gripped her by the shoulders, smelled her hair, and kissed her on the back of her head just as she was preparing to go on stage at a campaign rally for her lieutenant governor bid.
Amy Lappos, a former congressional aide to Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), also accused Biden of unwanted touching.
Then, this week, two other women — Caitlyn Caruso, who is 22, and D. J. Hill, who is 59 — shared their experiences with The New York Times for a piece published on Monday.
Caruso claimed Biden rested his hand on her thigh during an event that addressed sexual assault, of all things, at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
Caruso was 19 at the time. She said she squirmed in her seat to try to show her discomfort and that Biden also hugged her “just a little bit too long.”
The alleged interaction, she said, was uncomfortable for her partly because she had just talked about her own sexual assault — and she’d expected the former vice president to be more cognizant of physical boundaries with others.
“It doesn’t even really cross your mind that such a person would dare perpetuate harm like that,” she told The Times. “These are supposed to be people you can trust.”
Hill said that in 2012, when she was taking a photograph with Biden, he put his hand on her shoulder and moved it down her back — which made her feel “very uncomfortable.”
A spokesperson on Sunday said Biden over the years has “offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately,” said Biden. “If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully.”
“I shake hands, I hug people … It’s the way I’ve always been,” said Biden in the video released Wednesday.
Scores of people, he said, have reached out to him for comfort over the years, he also said. “Now, it’s all about taking selfies together,” he said.
“I shake hands, I hug people … It’s the way I’ve always been.”
“Social normals have begun to change. They’ve shifted. And the boundaries [around] protecting 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.”
He also said life, and politics, is still about connecting.
“I’ve worked my whole life to empower women … So the idea that I can’t adjust to the fact that personal space is more important than it’s ever been is just not thinkable. I will. I will.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued a statement on Wednesday in support of Biden.
“My bias is clear in terms of Joe Biden,” the senator said. “I think he’s one of the most decent people I’ve ever met. I don’t believe for a second that he meant to do anything wrong, and I can understand why people took it differently than he meant.”
Not everyone feels that way.
Tomi Lahren, the host of “Final Thoughts” on Fox Nation, shared this message on her Twitter feed on Wednesday afternoon:
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) April 3, 2019
She also said that now, “Democrats have a difficult road to navigate because of their past ‘believe all women’ standard.”
And actor James Woods shared these thoughts:
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) April 3, 2019
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