Former Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged Wednesday that his tendency toward what he called “gestures of support and encouragement” have made some women uncomfortable, and he promised to be “much more mindful about respecting personal space.”
His comments in a cellphone video posted to Twitter came after multiple women accused Biden of touching them in an inappropriate way.
“Social norms have begun to change. They’ve shifted,” said the 76-year-old Biden, wearing a suit and open-collared shirt. “And the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. And I get it. I get it. I hear what they are saying. I understand.”
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
The video was Biden’s first direct comment about an issue that has tripped up his preparations to enter the 2020 Democratic presidential race. He did not directly apologize but seemed to be seeking to ease people’s discomfort with his behavior.
On Friday, former Nevada politician Lucy Flores, a fellow Democrat, wrote in New York Magazine that Biden approached her from behind, touched her shoulders and kissed the back of her head in 2014.
Days later, a former Democratic congressional aide said Biden put his hand around her neck and pulled her toward him to rub noses at a 2009 event.
Biden, a former longtime U.S. senator from Delaware, said in a statement last week that he did not recall the episode that Flores described in the magazine piece.
In the video Wednesday, he said his physical interactions with people are “the way I’ve tried to show I care about them and I’m listening.”
“I’ll always believe governing — life, for that matter — is about connecting, connecting with people,” he said. “That won’t change.”
However, he said he will be more careful about his actions.
“That’s my responsibility, my responsibility, and I’ll meet it,” Biden said.
And in so doing, he was tacitly acknowledging a nagging concern for some voters: that he cannot adapt.
“The idea that I can’t adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it’s ever been, is just not thinkable,” he said in closing. “I will. I will.”
Biden also teased an announcement of his political plans, promising to “be talking to you about a whole lot of issues.”
Shortly after the video was released, a union announced Biden would speak at their conference in Washington on Friday.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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