- Former Vice President Joe Biden made a joking reference Tuesday to accusations from multiple women that he touched them inappropriately and invaded their personal space.
- During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Biden stopped speaking to pull over a chair for a woman who was seated on the floor.
- After the woman whispered in his ear, Biden turned to the crowd of mostly older white people and said, “I want the press to know, she pulled me close.” The line drew laughter and applause.
- It’s not the first time Biden has made light of the accusations against him. He’s also drawn scrutiny for offering what many called a “non-apology apology,” where he said he would amend his actions, but never explicitly said he was sorry for his past conduct.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Former Vice President Joe Biden joked about his behaviour toward women during a campaign event in New Hampshire on Tuesday.
Biden, who is the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic nomination, stopped speaking to pull a chair over for a woman who was seated on the floor. After she whispered something in his ear, Biden announced, “I want the press to know: she pulled me close.”
The line drew immediate laughter and applause from the crowd, which was made up of roughly 100 people, many of whom were older and white.
The woman, Sandy Bergquist, told INSIDER after the event that she wasn’t offended by the joke.
“He’s not what we have now,” she said, referring to President Donald Trump, who’s been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. “He’s happily married, he’s a good dad, he’s suffered a lot in his life … I think you have to be careful what you do, but I wouldn’t blow this up.”
It’s not the first time the former vice president has made light of multiple accusations that he touched women inappropriately and invaded their personal space.
In April, while addressing union workers in Washington, Biden was introduced by Lonnie Stephenson, the president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. After being introduced, Biden looked at the audience, smiled, and said, “I just want you to know, I had permission to hug Lonnie.”
As it did on Tuesday, the line sparked laughter and applause at the time from the crowd of mostly white men.
Later during the April speech, Biden shook hands with several children who were at the event. After inviting them on stage and shaking their hands, Biden put his arm around one of the boys.
“By the way, he gave me permission to touch him,” he joked.
Before Biden’s presidential campaign even kicked off, he became the center of a firestorm over his past conduct toward women. So far, four women have accused the former vice president of inappropriate contact.
In April, Biden released a video in which he ruminated about how “the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset.”
He went on to say he “never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic,” but acknowledged that “social norms are changing.”
He did not, however, say he was sorry for his past behaviour.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.