Stacey Abrams defends Joe Biden amid personal space controversy

The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate said that Biden has acknowledged where he went wrong, so perfection should not be a "litmus test" for politicians

Former Georgia Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks at the National Action Network’s annual convention, April 3, 2019 in New York City. A dozen 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will speak at the organization’s convention this week. Founded by Rev. Al Sharpton in 1991, the National Action Network is one of the most influential African American organizations dedicated to civil rights in America. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


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.

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“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.

“I think the vice president has acknowledged the discomfort that he’s caused. He’s created context for why that is his behavior and he has affirmed that he will do something different going forward. And I think that’s what we should be looking for,” she said.

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“Because we’re going to find out things about everybody running for office — whether it’s for the presidency or for school board — and we have to as a people be ready to forgive, but forgiveness does not mean you accept it unless what you see is accountability and an attempt at reformation so that more people can feel included and believe that their needs will be met.”
Abrams also used the interview as an opportunity to deny reports that Biden was considering entering the 2020 presidential race on a ticket with her as his vice presidential running mate.