Biden: I’ll be more mindful of respecting personal space

U.S. & World
2000_1554354002436.jpg

Former Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged Wednesday that his tendency toward physical displays of affection and encouragement has made some women uncomfortable, and he promised to be “much more mindful” of respecting personal space.

“Social norms have begun to change. They’ve shifted,” the 76-year-old Biden said in a cellphone video posted to Twitter. “And the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. And I get it. I get it. I hear what they are saying. I understand.”

Wearing a suit and open-collared shirt, Biden also teased an announcement of his political plans, promising to “be talking to you about a whole lot of issues.” Shortly after the video was released, a union announced Biden would speak at their conference in Washington on Friday.

The video was Biden’s first direct comment on what has tripped up his preparations to enter the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign. He did not directly apologize but seemed to be seeking to ease some people’s discomfort, which has raised questions about whether he could wage an effective campaign.

On Friday, former Nevada politician Lucy Flores wrote in New York Magazine that Biden approached her from behind, touched her shoulders and kissed the back of her head in 2014.

Since then, another woman has said Biden grabbed her face when he was thanking congressional staff at a 2009 event. On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that three additional women had recounted uncomfortable encounters with Biden. One of them, Vail Kohnert-Yount, said she was a White House intern in the spring of 2013 when she met Biden in the West Wing and, as they chatted, he put his hand on the back of her head and pressed his forehead to hers and called her a “pretty girl.”

Biden, a former longtime U.S. senator from Delaware, first said in a statement that he did not recall the episode that Flores initially described in the magazine piece and then in subsequent weekend interviews.

In the video Wednesday, Biden insisted that what he described as the compassion from where the affection comes will not change and again nodded to the steps he’s taking toward running.

“But I’ll always believe governing — life, for that matter — is about connecting, connecting with people,” he said. “That won’t change.”

Biden also said that he would be more careful about his actions in the future.

“And I’ll be much more mindful. That’s my responsibility, my responsibility, and I’ll meet it,” Biden said.

And in so doing, Biden was tacitly acknowledging a nagging concern for some voters: that he cannot adapt.

“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,” he said in closing. “I will. I will.”

President Donald Trump, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct (which he denies), was asked Wednesday whether Biden should apologize for the ways he has interacted with women. The president replied, “No, he’s going to make his own decisions. He’s very capable of making a decision, I assume.”

A day earlier, Trump taunted Biden at a National Republican Congressional Committee fundraiser, saying, “Our former vice president, I was going to call him. I don’t know him well. I was gonna say, ‘Welcome to the world, Joe. You having a good time, Joe?’”

For local and breaking news, and to get weather alerts, download our mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don’t Miss

Join the Pro Football Challenge
Sunday Morning Matters
MedWatch Today
Hispanic Heritage
Bulldog Insider: The Podcast
The Valley's Armenia
Pros Who Know

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact Investigative Reporter Erik Rosales and let him be

On Your Side.

Email erikrosales@cbsfresno.com

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.