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Biden addresses allegations of unwanted touching

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As former Vice President Joe Biden’s camp scrambles to contain any political damage over his past behavior with women, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has some words of advice: Keep your distance. (April 2)
AP

WASHINGTON – In a video released Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden promised to be more “mindful and respectful” of people’s personal space in response to mounting allegations of unwanted and inappropriate behavior.

Biden, who is considering a bid for the White House in 2020, said his touching was all about making a “human connection.” 

“It’s just who I am,” Biden says in the video. “I’ve never thought of politics as cold or antiseptic.” 

But, the former vice president said he understood that times have changed and with that, so should his behavior. “I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying,” Biden says. “I’ll be much more mindful.” 

“I’ll always believe that governing quite frankly, life for that matter, is about connecting with people,” Biden says. “That won’t change but I will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space— and that’s a good thing.”

The video comes on the heels of at least four women who have accused the former vice president of unwanted touching and kissing. 

The string of accusations began after Lucy Flores, a former member of the Nevada Legislature, accused Biden of “demeaning and disrespectful” behavior when he allegedly kissed the back of her head.

In a column for New York Magazine, Flores detailed a backstage encounter with Biden during a 2014 event in Nevada where he was speaking to help boost voter turnout for Democrats. 

“I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified,” Flores writes. “He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused.”

Since then, three other women have come forward with similar accusations involving Biden. 

The allegations against Biden come amid #MeToo, a movement started nearly a decade ago that went viral in 2017 as women in Hollywood and across the country began sharing stories of sexual harassment and assault. It’s led to the resignation or downfall of more than 100 entertainers, executives and politicians, including Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Kevin Spacey. Former Minnesota Democrat Sen. Al Franken announced his resignation in 2017 following accusations of sexual misconduct. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., also stepped down, along with Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who resigned amid reports he discussed with female staffers the possibility they could be surrogates for his and his wife’s baby.

More than a dozen women have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct over the years, including eight women who have accused him of forcibly kissing them. Trump has denied the allegations. In an “Access Hollywood” tape that surfaced during the final weeks of the presidential campaign in 2016, Trump was heard making lewd comments and bragging about groping women. The president has said that was “locker-room banter.”

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/04/03/ill-more-mindful-biden-addresses-allegations-unwanted-touching/3355536002/




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