On Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden, beset by the maelstrom following numerous complaints that he had acted physically inappropriate toward women, released a video in which he didn’t admit he had behaved inappropriately, but rather protested that his physical gestures were simply because he was trying to make a “human connection.” Biden also mentioned the tragedies in his personal life and the comfort he has gotten from others, apparently conflating that with his gestures toward women who made no mention of any tragedy for which they needed support.
For the coming month I expect to be talking about a whole lot of issues and I’ll always be direct with you, but today I want to talk about gestures of support and encouragement that I’ve made to women and some men that made them uncomfortable. And I’m always trying to be, in my career, I’ve always tried to make a human connection; 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.” Whether they’re women, men, young, old, 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.
Then the apparent conflation of his own misfortune with his displays of physicality toward others:
And over the years, knowing what I’ve been through, the things that I’ve faced, I’ve found that scores, if not hundreds of people come up to me, reached out for solace and comfort. Something, something, anything that can help them get through the tragedy that they’re going through, and so, it’s just who I am.
Biden then implied that the reason people took offense at his invasion of their personal space was because “Social norms have begun to change”:
I’ve never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic; I’ve always thought about connecting with people. As I said, shaking hands, hands on the shoulder, a hug, encouragement. 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; I hear what they’re saying. I understand it and I’ll be much more mindful; that’s my responsibility. My responsibility and I’ll meet it.
Then the promise to eschew such behavior in the future:
But I’ll always believe governing, quite frankly, life, for that matter, is about connecting, about connecting with people. That won’t change, but I will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space. And that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing. I’ve worked my whole life to empower women. I’ve worked my whole life to prevent abuse. I’ve written a —so the idea that I can’t adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it’s ever been, is just not thinkable. I will. I will.
As The Daily Wire reported, on Tuesday a pro-Trump super PAC released an ad depicting Biden’s various moments of invading someone’s personal space:
In 2015, Jon Stewart called out Biden for his alleged groping:
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) April 3, 2019
Video of Biden below:
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