Former Vice President Joe Biden's female 2020 opponents have seized the moment amid accusations of his alleged inappropriate touching. Now, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has announced she believes Biden's accusers.
When asked if Biden should still run for president, Harris said that would be his decision to make. "He’s going to have to make that decision for himself. I wouldn’t tell him what to do," she said.
Biden has been accused by as many as four women of inappropriately touching them in professional settings, often by caressing their shoulders and planting an unwanted kiss on their neck or head.
"He made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused," Biden accuser Lucy Flores wrote in The Cut. "The vice-president of the United States of America had just touched me in an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners — and I felt powerless to do anything about it."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has already come out publicly in support of the women, saying Joe Biden needs to give an answer. "I read the op-ed last night,” Warren said Saturday in Iowa. "I believe Lucy Flores. And Joe Biden needs to give an answer." Similar to Kamala Harris, Warren said that Biden's decision to run for the 2020 nomination is entirely up to him.
For his part, Joe Biden released a video on Wednesday explaining his handsy way with woman as a way of making a "human connection."
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.
While Biden admitted he did nothing wrong, he promised to eschew that 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.
Biden has had his fair share of defenders on both the Right and the Left. MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski said that Biden is just a loving, affectionate guy. "I think the next time I see Joe Biden, if he doesn’t hug me and give me a kiss and hold my hand while we’re talking to you, that’s the new Joe Biden, and that’s not the Joe Biden I knew," she said. "He’s a nice guy. He’s not a predator, and this is ridiculous. Let me just say it: This is ridiculous. The conversation has gotten out of control."
Both Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham have defended Joe Biden as simply being a touchy-feely guy.