Former Vice President Joe Biden has come under fire recently for inappropriate behavior, which led him to release a video to tell people he “will be more mindful of personal space in the future.”

Just hours after the release, The Washington Post reported that three more women came forward “about encounters with him that made them feel uncomfortable.” That makes the total seven women.

Professor Jacobson noted that even though Biden said that social norms have changed, these accusations have come from his time as vice president.

Here are the three new women:

Vail Kohnert-Yount, a White House intern, in 2013.

Kohnert-Yount told WaPo that one day in 2013, as she tried to leave the West Wing basement, she moved aside for Biden. He extended his hand and introduced himself:

“He then put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me. 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,’ ” Kohnert-Yount said in a statement to The Post.

She described feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed that Biden had commented on her appearance in a professional setting, “even though it was intended as a compliment.”

“I do not consider my experience to have been sexual assault or harassment,” she stated, adding that she believes Biden’s intentions were good. “But it was the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace.”

Sofia Karasek, a sexual assault survivor, had an incident with Biden in 2016.

Karasek went on stage with Lady Gaga at the Oscars in 2016, along with 50 other sexual assault victims. Biden introduced Gaga:

Karasek said as she met Biden after the ceremony, she was thinking about a college student who had been sexually assaulted and recently died by suicide. She decided to share the story with the then-vice president, and Biden responded by clasping her hands and leaning down to place his forehead against hers, a moment captured in a widely circulated photograph.

Karasek said she appreciated Biden’s support but also felt awkward and uncomfortable that his gesture had left their faces suddenly inches apart. She said she did not know how to respond to, as she described it, Biden crossing the boundary into her personal space at a sensitive moment.

Ally Coll, young Democratic staffer, in 2008.

Coll met Biden at a reception in 2008. She met him when he entered the room:

She said she was then 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.”

Coll, who runs the Purple Campaign, a nonprofit group that fights sexual harassment, said she felt nervous and excited about meeting Biden at the time and shrugged off feelings of discomfort. She says now that she felt his alleged behavior was out of place and inappropriate in the context of a work situation.

“There’s been a lack of understanding about the way that power can turn something that might seem innocuous into something that can make somebody feel uncomfortable,” said Coll, who consults with companies about their workplace policies.

Reaction to Biden’s Video

All three women didn’t approve of Biden’s video.

Kohnert-Yount told WaPo that she appreciates “his attempt to do better in the future, but to me this is not mainly about whether Joe Biden has adequate respect for personal space. It’s about women deserving equal respect in the workplace.”

Karasek expressed disappointment in the video because he did not “take ownership in the way he needed to.” She reminded Biden that “all of our interactions and friendships are a two-way street. . . . Too often it doesn’t matter how the woman feels about it or they just assume that they’re fine with it.”

Coll explained that the video showed “a continued lack of understanding about why these stories are being told and their relevance in the #MeToo era.”

Will He Run for President?

Isn’t it weird how everyone is now talking about these uncomfortable experiences when Biden is expected to announce any day now that he will run for president?

Biden has led the polls, even though he has not announced, with Sen. Bernie Sanders a close second. Everyone else has numbers nowhere near those two men. The Democrats love diversity and something tells me they don’t want an old white man as their nominee.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the accusations against Biden don’t disqualify him from running for president, but urged him to understand communication:

“I think that it’s important for the vice president and others to understand that it isn’t what you intended; it’s how it was received,” Pelosi said at Tuesday morning at an event in Washington.

The speaker also challenged Biden’s response to the controversy on Sunday, when he stated that he never intended to act inappropriately but “if it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully.”

“To say, ‘I’m sorry that you were offended’ is not an apology,” Pelosi said. “That’s not accepting the fact that people think differently about communication, whether it’s a handshake, a hug. . . . 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, not necessarily how you intended it.”

I think he will still run. After all, the Democrats still love President Bill Clinton.

 
 
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