Democratic 2020 presidential frontrunner Joe Biden released a video apology Wednesday on Twitter promising to be less creepy to women in the future.
Biden pushed back against criticism of his history of unwanted touching of women and girls, saying he’s always given “gestures of support and encouragement.”
“Today I want to talk about gestures of support and encouragement that I’ve made to women – and some men – and I’ve made them uncomfortable. And I’ll always try to be, uh – in my career I’ve always tried to make a human connection. That’s my responsibility, I think,” he said in the video.
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
“I shake hands, I hug people, I grab men and women by the shoulders and say ‘you can do this.’ Women, men, young, old…it’s the way I’ve always been. It’s the way I show I care about them and I’m listening.”
The potential 2020 candidate continued to justify his behavior as showing “encouragement” and just being “who I am,” while carefully avoiding any mention of kissing women and girls, touching and smelling their heads and hair, and making suggestive comments.
“And I’ve said: shaking hands, hands on the shoulder, a hug, encouragement, and now it’s all about taking selfies together. Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. And I get it. I get it,” Biden said.
Biden’s problems began after former Nevada assemblywoman Lucy Flores wrote a blistering op-ed detailing a 2014 encounter with the former vice president wherein he smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head.
The video release of Biden addressing his behavior directly signals that his campaign is desperate to shake off his touching controversy, but the damage may have been done, as some on the left and right in media have already either called Biden’s defeat, or are urging him not to run.