Joe Biden responded with a two-minute video on April 3 to allegations the former vice president inappropriately touched a number of women, most recently stemming from two accusers who came forward.
Biden, in an attempt to stem the growing criticism against him, noted in the video that he would pay more attention to not invading people’s personal space. He also defended himself, describing it as “just who I am” while stating that the times have changed.
“Social norms are changing,” Biden said in a Twitter post accompanying the video. “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,” he added.
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
Biden did not specifically apologize in the video. So far, four women have come out over the past week alleging that Biden’s public displays of affection made them feel uncomfortable.
In the video, Biden made the case that politics for him was always about making connections with people.
“I’ve found that scores, if not hundreds, of people have come up to me and reached out for solace or comfort, something, anything that might help them get through the tragedy they’re going through, and so it’s just who I am,” Biden said. “And I’ve never thought of politics as cold or antiseptic, I’ve always thought about it as connecting with people, shaking hands, a hand on the shoulder, a hug, encouragement.”
Biden is expected to formally announce the launch of his 2020 campaign after Easter, according to The Hill. The video he released also contained language that appeared to confirm this.
“In the coming month I expect to be talking to you about a whole lot of issues and I’ll always be direct with you,” he said.
Despite not having announced a presidential run, Biden is the clear frontrunner in all major polls tracking actual and possible 2020 Democratic presidential contenders including Morning Consult, Monmouth, Harvard-Harris, and Emerson. According to a RealClearPolitics average, Biden leads at 29 percent, as self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) trails far behind at 22 percent.
Biden failed to develop a strong base of political support in his two previous presidential runs, dropping out of the race both times. If he were to be elected, he would be 78 years old when taking office, which would make him the oldest president-elect in U.S. history.
Caruso, a sexual assault survivor, said Biden rested his hand on her thigh even as she squirmed to show her discomfort. Caruso was 19 at the time and had just told her own story at an event on sexual assault at the University of Nevada.
Caruso said Biden also hugged her “just a little bit too long.” Biden’s actions made Caruso uncomfortable since she thought that, as the architect of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, he would be more sensitive about physical boundaries.
“It doesn’t even really cross your mind that such a person would dare perpetuate harm like that,” Caruso told The New York Times. “These are supposed to be people you can trust.”
Hill, the second woman, met Biden at a fundraising event in Minneapolis in 2012. When Hill and her husband posed for a photo with the vice president, Biden placed his hand on her shoulder and began to drop it down her back, which made her “very uncomfortable.”
Hill’s husband noticed Biden’s move and stopped him by placing a hand on Biden’s shoulder and making a joke. Hill doesn’t know what Biden’s intention was.
“Only he knows his intent,” Hill told the New York Times.
Epoch Times reporter Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report