House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has some advice for former vice president and still-undecided presidential candidate Joe Biden after two women recently accused him of unwelcome physical advances in the past.
Keep your distance like you would if the person you are interacting with were sick, Pelosi said.
“Join the straight-arm club with me,” Pelosi told Politico.
“I’m a member of the straight arm club … just pretend you have a cold, and I have a cold,” Pelosi said. “He’s an affectionate person, to children, to senior citizens, to everyone, but that’s just not the way.”
Pelosi’s interview with Politico centered on the ongoing Biden controversy after former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores wrote an essay in New York Magazine’s The Cut last week, describing how in 2014 when she was waiting to go on stage at a campaign event, Biden smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head.
A second woman, Amy Lappos, also came out with allegations of unwanted contact with Biden, saying he grabbed her head and rubbed noses with her during a 2009 fundraising event.
But at least one woman featured in wave memes about Biden’s way with women defended him. Stephanie Carter, the wife of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter and the daughter of Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), has said Biden did not make her feel “uncomfortable.”
Biden and his team have responded with several statements, with the former vice president saying he has different recollections of events and would be happy to “listen respectfully” to his accusers.
But in the Politico interview, Pelosi chided Biden for not really apologizing to the women who have come forward.
“It is how it’s received, so to say, ‘I’m sorry that you were offended’ is not an apology,” Pelosi said. “‘I’m sorry I invaded your space,’ but not, ‘I’m sorry you were offended.’ What’s that? That’s not accepting the fact that people think differently about communication.”
“Democrats are agonizing over how to handle the new allegations against Biden, though no party leaders have stated the former vice president is disqualified from joining the 2020 field,” Politico reported, including Pelosi.
“I don’t think it’s disqualifying,” Pelosi said. “He has to understand in the world that we’re in now that people’s space is important to them, and what’s important is how they receive it and not necessarily how you intended it.”
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