Former Vice President, and likely 2020 presidential contender, Joe Biden issued a brief video response to recent accusations that he has touched women inappropriately throughout his career.
Last Friday, The Cut published an essay from Lucy Flores, a former Democratic candidate for Nevada lieutenant governor, who claimed that Biden smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head at a campaign event in 2014. This was followed by another accusation from Connecticut woman Amy Lappos, who claimed that Biden touched her head inappropriately at an event in 2009.
The claims from these two women sparked renewed media scrutiny of Biden's long history of encroaching on people's personal space, and even earned him some criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) who recommended he join "the straight arms club."
Looking to nip this criticism in the bud, Biden released a short two-minute monologue via Twitter, in which he both defends his past history of embracing women, while also promising that he will do better in the future.
"Today I want to talk about gestures of support and encouragement I've made to women and some men," says Biden, speaking only in generalities. "I grab men and women by the shoulder and say 'you can do this.' Whether they're women, men, young, old. It's the way I've always been. It's the way I've tried to show that I care about them and I'm listening."
For Biden, this is not just a personal habit, but an integral part of his approach to politics and life, saying he'll "always believe that governing quite frankly, life, for that matter, is about connecting people."
Nevertheless, Biden insists that he's learned the error of his ways.
"Social norms have begun to change. They've shifted. The boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset, and I get it. I get it. I hear what they're saying. I'll be much more mindful," he said. "I've worked my whole life to empower women. The idea that I can't adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it's ever been, is just unthinkable."