The drip drip drip of the Joe Biden story has turned into a fire hose.
Three more women emerged on Wednesday to say that his unwanted touches made them feel uncomfortable, and one woman said a video the handsy vice president posted on Twitter on Wednesday does not change how she feels.
The three women, Ally Coll, Vail Kohnert-Yount and Sofie Karasek, told The Washington Post very similar stories about how Biden allegedly touched them inappropriately. Kohnert-Yount worked as an intern in the White House in 2013 and said when she met Biden for the first time, he “put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me. I was so shocked that it was hard to focus on what he was saying. I remember he told me I was a ‘pretty girl.'”
But Kohnert-Yount, like several of the other women who have come forward, said she “did not consider my experience to have been sexual assault or harassment.” Yet she added that “it was the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace.”
Last week, Lucy Flores, a former Nevada assemblywoman who was running for lieutenant governor in 2014, accused Biden of inappropriately touching her during a campaign rally, saying she felt uncomfortable and demeaned by his touching. On Monday, Amy Lappos told The Hartford Courant that “Biden touched her inappropriately and rubbed noses with her during a 2009 political fundraiser in Greenwich when he was vice president.”
Two other women, D.J. Hill and Caitlyn Caruso, told The New York Times that Biden had touched them, too, making them uncomfortable. The three that emerged on Wednesday brings the total to seven.
The most recent incident was in 2016, when Sofie Karasek, who appeared at the Academy Awards ceremony along with sexual assault victims during a performance by Lady Gaga, met Biden, who had introduced the singer.
“Karasek said as she met Biden after the ceremony, she was thinking about a college student who had been sexually assaulted and recently died by suicide. She decided to share the story with the then-vice president, and Biden responded by clasping her hands and leaning down to place his forehead against hers, a moment captured in a widely circulated photograph,” the Post said.
In his two-minute video posted Wednesday on Twitter, Biden said, “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,” he said.
“Whether they’re women, men, young, old, it’s the way I’ve always been, it’s the way I try to show I care about them and I’m listening,” Biden said. “I’ve never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic. I’ve always thought about connecting with people.”
But Biden said social norms have “shifted” in the midst of the MeToo era. “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.”
Kohnert-Yount told the Post the video is not sufficient. “I appreciate his attempt to do better in the future, but to me this is not mainly about whether Joe Biden has adequate respect for personal space. It’s about women deserving equal respect in the workplace.”
Karasek also said the video falls short, noting that Biden “still didn’t take ownership in the way that he needs to.”