Joe Biden Has Spoken Out Following Multiple Allegations Against Him
Former US Vice President Joe Biden has released a two-minute video addressing accusations of inappropriate touching behaviour, stating that he understands the "boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset".
The scandal that Biden has inappropriately touched women broke after a former Nevada state legislator and ex-staffer for Bernie Sanders, Lucy Flores, wrote a personal essay for New York Magazine detailing an encounter with the former Vice President at a campaign event.
In the essay, Flores said he came up behind her, touching her shoulders and kissing the back of her head.
Flores' account was quickly followed by an accusation from Connecticut woman, Amy Lappos, who came forward, saying Biden had rubbed noses with her at a political fundraiser in Greenwich in 2009, drawing her in against her will.
Lappos told The Hartford Courant that Biden "put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me." While maintaining that the act was not "sexual", Lappos said that Biden had crossed a line of decency and the former Vice President's actions were a display of "sexism or misogyny".
Biden, who is currently laying the foundations for a presidential bid in the run-up to the 2020 election, posted a video to his Twitter account saying that his "gestures of support and encouragement" that he has made to men and women in the past have made some people uncomfortable.
Biden states that he needs to be "more mindful and respectful of people's personal space".
"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".
Biden did not address either Lappos or Flores by name or apologise directly to the women.
However, Biden did release a statement in response to Flores essay late last week stating, "In my many years on the campaign trail and public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support, and comfort. And not once -- never -- did I believe I acted inappropriately," Biden said.
Biden added in his response to Flores that he will "listen respectfully" to any allegations that he has behaved inappropriately but asserted that it was never his intention.
Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential run, Beto O'Rourke, addressed the allegations against Biden today but declined to dispute the remarks or offer him any protection.
"I think we need to listen to those who are raising their stories, who have the courage to come forward to share their experience and also to be part of the conversation about his candidacy or how he fares as a contender for the nomination," O'Rourke said.