The last thing anyone needs this election season is a new reason to cringe. We already have one of those — he’s loud, orange, and obsessed with tariffs. But lo! Joe Biden, the front-running presidential candidate, who can’t keep his hands to himself, wants to make some jokes about it.
While Biden’s seemingly pathological need to touch those around him is off-putting (who among us really wants anyone — much less a 76-year-old former vice president sniffing our heads?), and was at the centre of the first scandal of his campaign, we thought the good former veep might have gotten the message. But no. Since being called out in April by several women, Biden has taken to using the accusations as something akin to a comedy routine. Sure, we guess political campaigns do bear some similarities to doing stand-up but just… no.
In the post-Me Too era, one would think that such touching—and joking about it to boot!— would become a no-go for a man who once appeared to take issues of consent seriously and wants to lead a party containing countless women who are still angry that our sitting president is a pussy grabber.
Joe, if you’re the Democratic nominee we hope people vote for you. But please heed some advice that all of our moms gave us in kindergarten: keep your hands to yourself, and show some respect. Yes, even — especially! — if you’re running for leader of the free world. We’re keeping tabs.
“I had permission to hug Lonnie.”
The top-polling Democratic candidate started making cringe-worthy jokes not long after he apologised, haphazardly, for his unwanted touching, promising to be more "mindful and respectful."
On Friday, 5 April, just two days after releasing his apology video, Biden made two jokes about consent on-stage at a conference for union workers in Washington, DC.
“I just want you to know, I had permission to hug Lonnie,” he said, after embracing International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers President Lonnie Stephenson.
Later in the night, during his speech, Biden made another joke after inviting a group of children on-stage. He shook each of the kids hands. “By the way, he gave me permission to touch him,” he said, after he put his arm around one of the boys. Biden and the boy did not appear to have exchanged words before the embrace.
a biden staffer quietly changing the "60 days without a creepy joe biden story" sign to 0— libby watson (@libbycwatson) May 29, 2019
“I’ll bet you’re as bright as you are good-looking.”
On Tuesday, 28 May, Biden appeared at a town hall hosted by the American Federation of Teachers in Houston, TX. There, he told a 10-year-old girl in the audience, “I’ll bet you’re as bright as you are good-looking,” as he conversed with her after she asked a question about divisions in the country.
“What I’m going to do, is if you give me an address, I’m going to write you a longer answer and tell you the exact things I’m going to do, okay? Promise?” he said.
When the girl told him she was interested in journalism, Biden took her hand and walked her over to where the press was stationed in the room. He stood behind her and put his hands on her shoulders as he addressed the press. It was "a somewhat odd moment at tonight's AFT town hall," Washington Post national political reporter Felicia Sonmez tweeted.
“She pulled me close.”
On Tuesday, 4 June, at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Biden made a joke about his history of inappropriate contact with women. After speaking closely with a female audience member, who was thanking the 76-year-old Democratic candidate for bringing her a chair, Biden said to the press: “I want the press to know, she pulled me close. I just want you to know, okay?” Way to make the situation even more awkward than it was.
"We have a secret going here," he said, after helping the woman up from sitting on the ground. It is unknown what the audience member was telling him, but she had called him a “sweetheart” earlier and seemed thankful to Biden for his help.
We can't believe Biden still doesn’t know better than to joke about the allegations women have made about him in the past.
This is a developing story. We will update it as more information comes in.