Joe Scarborough offered some advice to Joe Biden on the first official day of the former vice president’s 2020 presidential campaign, telling the Democrat that he should keep elite opinion and social media pundits at arm’s length.
“Joe Biden and other candidates, they need to ignore the blue check marks and what the blue check marks say and what the Washington elites say and what the Manhattan elites say,” Scarborough said. “If this class of people had influence over the Democratic party, Bill Bradley would have been president in 2000.”
The reference to “blue checks marks” refers to verified users of social media — though Scarborough was almost certainly talking about Twitter specifically given his proficient use of the platform.
“It is black Americans, it is Hispanic Americans, it is a lot of people you’re not hearing from now that won’t be heard in fact until this South Carolina primary that determine who the Democratic nominee is — working class Americans,” Scarborough added, noting that Biden historically performed well with these groups.
The former vice president is no stranger to presidential politics, first seeking the highest office in 1988. He ran again in 2008 before ultimately being tapped by Barack Obama to be his running mate. Biden’s years at Obama’s side have given him unrivaled name recognition, but his campaign has been riven in recent days by scandal — including allegations from multiple women of inappropriate touching.
In a piece for The Cut, Nevada activist Lucy Flores said Biden had touched her shoulders, kissed the back of her head and smelled her hair without prior consent during a campaign event in 2014.
“My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused,” Flores wrote. “I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me.”
In a statement, released hours later, Biden said he remembered things differently.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” he said. “And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
Biden’s handsy behavior is far from a recent development and he was even called out by Jon Stewart for “groping” during a segment on the “Daily Show” in 2015.
Still, Biden has never been accused of any form of sexual misconduct and has frequently found strong defenders on “Morning Joe” — particularly co-host Mika Brzezinski, who has openly pushed back against Biden’s female accusers.
“He’s affectionate and I’m just going to push back and I know I put myself at great peril here, there could be more, whatever. More of what? I want to ask,” she said earlier this month. “So far, these two women have gotten national coverage for something they say was not sexual. So what was it? Affectionate and they didn’t like the affection? I don’t know what line we’re drawing here.”