Joe Biden posted a video to Twitter on Wednesday in which he seemed to say he WILL run for president in 2020 and addressed the complaints from women and others that he’d touched them inappropriately, which have exploded onto the national scene in the last several days.
In starting out, the former vice president and longtime Democratic senator from Delaware said he expects to be talking about a “whole lot of issues” in the coming month and referred to “gestures of support and encouragement” that he’s shown to women and some men “that have made them uncomfortable.”
“In my career I’ve always tried to make a human connection,” he said into the camera. “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’ …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.”
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
He went on to talk about people reaching out to him for solace over the years, given what he’s been through, an apparent reference to the loss of his wife and young daughter in a car crash many years ago and the loss of his son Beau Biden in 2015.
“I’ve never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic,” he said, “I’ve always thought of it as connecting with people…now it’s all about taking selfies together.”
He said he understands that the boundaries protecting personal space in this new era “have been reset.”
“And I get it, I get it, I hear what they’re saying, I understand it,” he said. “And I’ll be much more mindful, that’s my responsibility. My responsibility, and I’ll mean it. But I’ll always believe governing, quite frankly — life, for that matter — is about connecting, about connecting with people. That won’t change.”
The release of the video follows the news over the last few days of four different women coming forward to say that they were rattled and upset by being touched by Biden in a way that was overly intimate and unexpected.
Nevada legislator Lucy Flores wrote in an essay for New York magazine published March 29 that she was “mortified” when Biden moved in close to her from behind and “inhaled” her hair before planting a “big slow kiss” on the back of her head when he was campaigning for her in her race for lieutenant governor.
“I was embarrassed, I was shocked. I was confused,” she wrote, adding that how she felt could be summed up by a Spanish expression “tragametierra,” which means, “earth, swallow me whole.”
Videos that show Biden stroking the hair of young girls during picture-taking sessions with members of Congress and their families in the U.S. Capitol have gone viral in the several days. But in his video, Biden didn’t reference children, only referring to “women and sometimes men.”
Some commenters on Twitter wrote that he hadn’t mentioned “hair sniffing” — only hugs and putting his hands on people’s shoulders.
But most applauded Biden for taking the time to speak sincerely about the accusations, and to attempt to explain himself.
How often have we heard a sincere apology from someone who acknowledges he is the one who must modify his behavior not others. He is a kind caring man… gentleman. We should not lose sight of his support for women, the poor, the hurting all throughout his career. I applaud him.
— acfenton (@achfenton) April 3, 2019
A Morning Consult poll released April 2 shows Biden as the front-runner among likely Democratic primary voters with 33 percent support. Bernie Sanders came in second in the poll with 25 percent while Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke each got 8 percent.
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