Former Vice President Joe Biden has his share of defenders every bit as much on the Right as he does on the Left. After multiple allegations of inappropriate touching, both Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have come to his aid, reports HuffPost.
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Graham called Biden a longtime friend who may have just been “glad-handing” women without any ill will.
“I just want to say Joe Biden is my friend, and I know him very well, and whatever he did, it may have been inappropriate but it was not driven by malice or misconduct.”
Graham added that Biden is one “one of the most decent people I’ve ever met,” saying that intent matters in this situation.
“Maybe at times he’s done some things that make people feel uncomfortable, but it matters to me that what his intent is,” Graham said. “I just think he’s a good guy. I think he means nothing bad by this.”
Sen. Susan Collins echoed Graham’s sentiments regarding Biden’s handsy approach with women, referring to him as a “natural toucher.”
“I’ve known Joe Biden for so many years, and he is a very friendly, affectionate individual who is a natural toucher — never found him to be inappropriate,” she told reporters.
Though Biden has yet to announce his 2020 run for president, the progressive base of the Democratic Party is already throwing everything but the kitchen sink at him in order to torpedo his expected campaign. As many as four women have come forward with the same allegation that the former vice president touched them inappropriately. Biden has maintained his innocence, asserting he never intended to hurt anyone.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” Biden said in a statement. “And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
“The View” co-host Meghan McCain issued the same defense of Biden on social media, calling him a “truly decent and compassionate” man. “Joe Biden is one of the truly decent and compassionate men in all of American politics,” she said. “He has helped me through my father’s diagnosis, treatment, and ultimate passing…I wish there was more empathy from our politicians, not less.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also intimated on Tuesday that Biden’s behavior would not disqualify him from the presidency. “I think that it’s important for the vice president and others to understand it isn’t what you intended, it’s how it was received,” she said. “He has to understand in the world we live in now, people’s space is important to them.”
The progressive base, however, has rallied hard against Biden. HuffPost has even called his behavior “benevolent sexism in disguise.”
“Whereas hostile sexism is easy to point out and thus organize around benevolent sexism is far more subtle, and the intentions behind it are often more complex,” said the outlet. “Because the perpetrator of such sexism often has a subjectively positive interpretation of his or her actions, it makes it that much more difficult to identify and critique in a productive way.”