In the wake of the controversy surrounding ex-vice president Joe Biden and the women who say he made overt gestures toward them, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has decided to speak out in his defense, saying he is being held up to a standard of perfection that is nearly impossible to meet.
According to Politico, Thursday, Abrams pointed out that Biden’s response to allegations that he made women uncomfortable by being overly affectionate, was exactly “what we should be looking for” in elected officials.
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“We cannot have perfection as a litmus test,” Abrams said during her appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “The responsibility of leaders is to not be perfect but to be accountable, to say, ‘I’ve made a mistake. I understand it and here’s what I’m going to do to reform as I move forward.’ And I think we see Joe Biden doing that.”
Biden, who is expected to announce a 2020 campaign for the White House, is known to be tactile with everyone, but in over a week, four women have come forward to say he made them uncomfortable.
The first was former Nevada politician Lucy Flores, who said Biden leaned behind her, smelled her hair and kissed her head during a 2014 campaign appearance. “It was the vice president of the United States of America,” she said during a March 30 interview on ABC’s Good Morning America. “You just don’t expect that to happen.”
On Wednesday afternoon Biden, 76, broke his silence about the issue in a video posted on Twitter.
Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it. pic.twitter.com/Ya2mf5ODts
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 3, 2019
“Social norms have begun to change. They’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying,“ Biden said, further explaining that physical contact is the way he connects with and supports people around him.
While some chided Biden for not apologizing directly, Abrams pushed back that said that his acknowledgment of the issue and vow to be “more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space” demonstrated his accountability.