Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden stirred ire on social media on Tuesday after he touched a young girl at a campaign rally despite pledging last month to be "much more mindful" about not invading people's personal space without their permission.
The New York Times reported that the interaction between Biden and the 10-year-old girl happened after she asked him a question about political division in the country.
"She told him that her favorite subject was journalism, so Mr. Biden proceeded to bring her to the back of the room, where journalists and TV cameras were congregated, and put his hands on her shoulders," the Times added. "The moment raised some eyebrows among online commentators. In the weeks leading up to his entrance into the race, a number of women said Mr. Biden had made them uncomfortable by touching them, leading to a reckoning around the physical way he has often interacted with women in public."
Washington Post national political reporter Felicia Sonmez also documented the incident, tweeting: "In a somewhat odd moment at tonight's AFT town hall, Biden tells a 10-year-old girl, 'I’ll bet you’re as bright as you are good-looking.' He takes her over to the assembled reporters, then stands behind her and puts his hands on her shoulders while he's talking."
"Recall that Biden filmed a video last month in which he vowed to respect women's personal space," Sonmez added. "Seems he hasn't quite gotten the message."
Sonmez noted that Biden's campaign refused to respond to a request for comment about the incident.
Biden received widespread condemnation on social media from conservatives and leftists for his behavior.
Far-left activist Shaun King tweeted: "What the hell? Please escort this man out of politics. He doesn’t get it. This is so damn creepy. This may be a tipping point, honestly."
Rosie O'Donnell tweeted: "just #creepy"
Leftist Elad Nehoria tweeted: "How the freaking freak is this guy leading against Warren?"
Jim Hanson tweeted: "This is not odd for him. He does it all the time. It is a sickness."
Nick Searcy tweeted: "But he’s the best Democrat running or something! Those girls need to be ignored and silenced in order to save women or something OMG RUSSIAPUTINTRUMP!"
Mark Krikorian tweeted: ". . . afterwards, he invited her into his van to see a puppy."
Dan Gainor tweeted: "There goes the brief boomlet in support for Creepy @JoeBiden. #MeToo"
Stephen Miller tweeted: "And that’s when aides fired the tranquilizer dart."
Max Burns tweeted: "I'll take that shower scalding hot, thanks"
Tim Marchman tweeted: "I would prefer Joe Biden was not running for president. I’ve been thinking about how to articulate this without getting into father of a daughter nonsense but my woke seven year old hears how pretty she is from a lot of weird old people and her mother and I have a lot of conversations with her about how to deal with it."
Marchman added: "In all I think it would be good if weird old people who think it’s okay to train young girls they’ve never met to think of themselves in terms of their attractiveness would gently remove themselves from national politics"