If you, a former elected official who served decades in public office and who is considering running for president of the United States, are told by multiple women that you made them feel uncomfortable when you touched them during previous interactions, then you probably be shouldn’t be joking about it.
Alas, former Vice President Joe Biden still doesn’t know where the line is:
Speaking at an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Biden opened his remarks by saying that the man who introduced him, union president Lonnie Stephenson, had said it was OK to touch him.
“I just want you know, I had permission to hug Lonnie,” Biden said to laughter from the audience.
As if a bad joke couldn’t get worse, he made the same comment again after inviting a group of kids onto the stage and putting his arm around the neck of a young boy in the group.
“By the way he gave me permission to touch him,” Biden said.
A terrible tight 10, and even worse coming from someone who’s supposedly taking concerns about his physical behavior very seriously. NEXT!!!!!!
Update, 12:42 p.m. ET: Biden attempted to do some damage control with reporters after the event, with mixed success. From The Hill:
“I’m sorry I didn’t understand more,” Biden told reporters. “I’m not sorry for any of my intentions. I’m not sorry for anything that I have ever done. I have never been disrespectful intentionally to a man or a woman. So that’s not the reputation I’ve had since I was in high school, for god’s sakes.”
At the same time, Lucy Flores, the first woman to publicly speak out about her uncomfortable interactions with Biden, criticized his latest comments.
Update, 4/6/19, 9:28 a.m. ET: This post has been updated with Lonnie Stephenson’s correct gender.