Former Vice President Joe Biden addressed the growing scandal surrounding two women who have accused him of inappropriate physical contact. In a video posted on Twitter Wednesday, Biden promised that he would be more “mindful” of “personal space” going forward.
“Social norms have begun to change, they have shifted. And the boundaries of 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, my responsibility and I’ll meet it,” Biden said. “I will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space and that’s a good thing.”
“I’ve always tried to make a human connection. That’s my responsibility I think. I shake hands. I hug people I grab men and women by the shoulders and say ‘you can do this’ and whether they’re women, men, young old, it’s the way I’ve always been,” he added. “It’s just who I am and I have never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic. I’ve always thought about connecting with people.
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Biden’s hands-on approach has been well-documented in politics and media, with Jon Stewart calling him out for it on the “Daily Show” in 2015.
“There’s been a rumor that Vice President Joe Biden may be gunning for the Democratic nomination in 2016, but before we talk about a promotion, I think we need to take a look at how he’s doing in his current position,” Stewart said before playing video footage of Biden placing his hands on the shoulders of Stephanie Carter, the wife of Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
Biden’s still unannounced candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination has been imperiled after two women came forward to share stories of inappropriate contact. While neither woman has accused Biden of sexual misconduct, both have said they touched him in ways they felt were inappropriate at the time.
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On Sunday, Carter published a Medium post defending Biden, saying that images of Biden grasping her shoulders were taken out of context.
“The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful,” she wrote. “A still shot taken from a video – misleadingly extracted from what was a longer moment between close friends – sent out in a snarky tweet — came to be the lasting image of that day.”
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