Former Vice President Joe Biden is facing continued criticism after he joked about the inappropriate touching allegations against him and claimed that he isn’t sorry for his past behavior.
During a speech on Friday, Biden casually poked fun at the allegations, saying, “I just want you to know, I had permission to hug” the union president and a young boy who joined him on stage.
Watch the jokes and a CNN host’s disbelief below:
“I just want you to know, I had permission to hug Lonnie”
Former Vice President Joe Biden joked during a speech to union workers that he had permission to hug a union president and a young boy who joined him on stage https://t.co/khZ3BNcDDP pic.twitter.com/jdKZBoeNnL
— CNN (@CNN) April 5, 2019
After the speech, Biden claimed that he would not be shocked if more allegations came to light and said that he’s not sorry for any of his actions.
“I’m sorry I didn’t understand more. I’m not sorry for any of my intentions,” said Biden. “I am not sorry for anything that I have ever done — I’ve never been disrespectful, intentionally, to a man or a woman.”
Watch his comments to reporters:
Former VP Biden says he "wouldn't be surprised" if more women come forward about uncomfortable interactions: "I'm sorry I didn't understand more. I'm not sorry for any of my intentions." pic.twitter.com/Rr68OrO6FM
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 5, 2019
Biden’s comments prompted some to call him out for his light-hearted approach to the issue.
“It’s clear [Joe Biden] hasn’t reflected at all on how his inappropriate and unsolicited touching made women feel uncomfortable,” said Lucy Flores, one of his accusers tweeted for example. “To make light of something as serious as consent degrades the conversation women everywhere are courageously trying to have.”
It’s clear @JoeBiden hasn’t reflected at all on how his inappropriate and unsolicited touching made women feel uncomfortable. To make light of something as serious as consent degrades the conversation women everywhere are courageously trying to have.
— Lucy Flores (@LucyFlores) April 5, 2019
CNN’s John King also pointed out that it seems like the former vice president “doesn’t get it.
“I get, in talking to a lot of people around the vice president, that he doesn’t think he did anything wrong,” King said the network on Friday.
“He says he welcomes a character debate. But he says he gets it. He doesn’t get it if he’s not understanding that women think their space was violated, that they were disrespected. They’re not going to find that funny. He had to know walking onto the stage, the moment and then he makes what he considers to be a joke, which I suspect a lot of other people, especially the women involved, are going to find offensive.”
Many others on social media took notice of Biden’s behavior and weren’t impressed.
Check out some more backlash:
The first thing Joe Biden said in his first speech after numerous accusations of inappropriate touching was to joke about inappropriate touching 😬 pic.twitter.com/KquSQaaKnC
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 5, 2019
Now we're at the point where everyone suddenly remembers that every time Joe Biden opens his mouth, it's like a clown car spilling open.
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) April 5, 2019
In a 40 minute speech, his first public remarks since controversy over whether his intimate style is appropriate in the era of the #MeToo movement, Joe Biden’s only remarks are to joke about it.
— Matt Viser (@mviser) April 5, 2019
Joe Biden's twice joked about his physical behavior toward others and made asking permission for it seem silly. If anyone's looking for contriteness after the last week, his speech makes clear: Joe Biden is Joe Biden. He’s 76 years old. And love him or hate him, he ain’t changing
— Matt Viser (@mviser) April 5, 2019
In response to literally everyone thinking he is creepy, Joe Biden invites kids on stage and then says, “he gave me permission to touch him.”
NOT HELPING YOUR SITUATION, JOE. pic.twitter.com/tb6ETqVgU1
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 5, 2019
Biden on a child he invited to the stage: "He gave me permission to touch him." pic.twitter.com/ASwlmPjaI2
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) April 5, 2019
When women talk about the every day indignities we face – the too close hugs, the shoulder rubs – a huge hurdle is the fear that we'll be accused of overreacting. That we'll be laughed at. Biden is proving that fear correct.
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) April 5, 2019