Washington: US Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he will be “more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.”
“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,” Biden tweeted.
The remarks by Biden came a week after former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores recalled a 2014 encounter with the former Vice President in which he made her feel “uneasy, gross and confused” when he came up from behind and kissed the back of her head, CNN reported.
In a statement released on Sunday, Biden refuted the allegations by saying, “In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort.”
“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,” Biden was quoted as saying.
He added, “I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear. But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention. And I will.”
Flores responded to Biden’s comments on Wednesday, saying that she was “glad” that he “acknowledges that he made women feel uncomfortable with his unsolicited gestures of encouragement.”
However, Flores also pointed out that Biden has not yet apologised for his behaviour that is in question.
“Given the work he has done on behalf of women, Vice President Biden should be aware of how important it is to take personal responsibility for inappropriate behaviour,” Flores wrote, “and yet he hasn’t apologised to the women he made uncomfortable.”
Meanwhile, in a second incident, another woman on Monday claimed that the former Vice President made her feel uncomfortable at a 2009 Connecticut fundraiser. Two more women told the New York Times on Tuesday that Biden made them feel uncomfortable by the way he touched them.
At the end of the video released Wednesday, Biden reiterated he would be more thoughtful going forward.
Biden, who is gearing up to announce his plans for the 2020 presidential race this month, further noted in the video message that he would be discussing over a range of issues during his election campaign.
“Folks, in the coming month I’m expecting to be talking to you about a whole lot of issues, and I’ll always be direct with you,” he said.
“I’ve never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic. I’ve always thought it about connecting with people, as I said, shaking hands, hands on the shoulder, a hug, encouragement, and now, it’s all about taking selfies together. You know, 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,” Biden continued.
“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,” he added.
It is assumed that if Biden runs for the White House, the already crowded Democratic primary field will steer clear to make him the clear front-runner for his party’s nomination against US President Donald Trump.
Biden was the US vice president from 2009 to 2017.