A total of seven women have come forward with accusations of inappropriate behavior, with three of them speaking out after former Vice President Joe Biden responded to the previous allegations in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday.
Sitting cross-legged in a leather seat, Biden didn’t offer an apology but addressed the “gestures of support and encouragement that I’ve made to women and some men that have made them uncomfortable.”
The gestures the women recalled include inhaling the hair of former Nevada lawmaker Lucy Flores and kissing the back of her head; rubbing noses with former political aide Amy Lappos; resting his hand on the thigh of sexual assault survivor Caitlyn Caruso during an event on sexual assault at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and hugging her “just a little bit too long”; and, last but most likely not least, dropping his hand down the back of writer D. J. Hill at a fundraising event in Minneapolis.
On Wednesday, after Biden pledged to be “more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space,” three more women accused him of inappropriate behavior, as reported by the Washington Post. Vail Kohnert-Yount was a White House intern when, she said, Biden introduced himself to her in the basement of the West Wing and “put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me.”
Kohnert-Yount in a statement said, “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.’”
Sofie Karasek met Biden at the Oscars along with a group of 50 sexual assault victims who appeared onstage with Lady Gaga. Karasek said that after the ceremony, she decided to share with Biden, who introduced Gaga’s performance, a story about a college student who’d committed suicide after being sexually assaulted, and, as reported by the Washington Post, “Biden responded by clasping her hands and leaning down to place his forehead against hers.”
The third women, Ally Coll, was a Democratic staffer working at a reception when she was introduced to Biden, who, she said, “leaned in, squeezed her shoulders and delivered a compliment about her smile, holding her ‘for a beat too long,’” the Washington Post reported.
No men have come forward, but all of the women have said Biden’s unwanted behavior wasn’t sexual but made them uncomfortable.
“Social norms have begun to change,” Biden said in his video response. “They’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. And I get it.”
Biden is leading the 2020 Democratic pack in polls though he hasn’t officially announced his bid. He was expected to announce his run later this month.
After Flores suggested Biden be disqualified from running for president, a number of women came to his defense, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.