WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden said it was “his responsibility” to “be more mindful about respecting personal space” in a video released Wednesday after the prospective 2020 presidential candidate was accused of unwanted touching by multiple women.
The video comes in the wake of allegations he made women feel uncomfortable in their encounters.
“Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying,” he wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Biden’s camp dove into damage control mode Friday after Lucy Flores, a former Nevada assemblywoman, penned an essay detailing a 2014 encounter during which the former vice president made her feel “uneasy, gross and confused” when he came up from behind her and kissed the back of her head. After a series of carefully-worded statements attributed to his spokesman, Biden on Sunday released a statement of his own addressing the allegation.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” Biden said in a statement that was released shortly before Flores appeared in her first television interview. “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.”
He added, “I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear. But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention. And I will.”
When a second woman came forward claiming Biden made her feel uncomfortable at a 2009 Connecticut fundraiser, his team pointed to his response from Sunday. Biden’s team again pointed to that statement when two more women told the New York Times that Biden made them feel uncomfortable by the way he touched them.