On Friday, presidential hopeful Joe Biden may have made his road to redemption in the midst of the inappropriate touching scandal just a bit harder than it was before when he told gathered reporters he’s “not sorry for anything that I have ever done,” according to a piece in The Hill.
To be fair, Barack Obama’s former running mate and presumed presidential candidate in the 2020 race was speaking in the context of trying to “understand more” about how violations of personal space such as those alleged by his accusers can make women feel uncomfortable. He was also trying to frame the debate in terms of his intentions when he allegedly put his hands on women and girls at various events and leaned in close to whisper something or simply to gaze into their eyes. But when he was directly asked if he was sorry for his actions, Biden refused to come right out and apologize.
“I’m sorry I didn’t understand more. I’m not sorry for any of my intentions,” Biden told reporters after a speech to union workers. “I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done. I have never been disrespectful intentionally to a man or a woman.”
Biden’s remorseful tone and words may have been betrayed somewhat by him cracking a joke about inappropriate touching at the top of his speech. As he was introduced to address the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers conference at the Washington Hilton, IBEW International president Lonnie Stephenson hugged him, an embrace that Biden couldn’t help but comment on as he began his speech.
“I just want you to know, I had permission to hug Lonnie. He gave me permission to touch him.”
However, following the speech in what has been his most in-depth public discussion of the issue since it erupted last week, Biden seemed to walk back his opening jokes a little bit, saying he did not mean to “make light” of anyone’s discomfort over an inappropriate hug or other unwanted physical contact. Biden also may have been betraying a bit of frustration with the entire situation as well.
“That’s not the reputation I’ve had since I was in high school, for God’s sakes,” he said in response to a reporter’s question.
Biden released a video on Wednesday on social media in which he acknowledged that he is of a different era and vowed to adjust his behavior to comport with modern gender mores. In his comments to reporters on Friday, Biden also acknowledged that he will “have to change somewhat how I campaign.”