Joe Biden’s ‘uncomfortable history with women’ could impact his White House chances

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Mr Biden, the Democratic nominee, is currently the bookies’ favourite to become the next US President with less than one week to go until the election. Yet, some reports have undermined the former Vice President by pointing out that his attitude towards women has made some uncomfortable in the past. Several women have come forward to say he made them unsettled by touching their hair during public appearances, or by whispering in their ear.

Democratic nominee for Nevada’s lieutenant governor back in 2014, Lucy Flores, wrote a piece for the US publication ‘The Cut’ where she detailed the discomfort she felt when Mr Biden came to support her for one of her speeches.

She wrote: “I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. ‘Why is the Vice President of the US touching me?’”

She added: “I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified.”

She claimed he then “proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head”, which left her so “shocked” she wanted “nothing more than to get Biden away from me”.

Ms Flores’ piece was entitled: “An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden.”

Other photographs of Mr Biden getting quite close to women emerged in the years that followed this event.

When asked about the criticism he had faced over these interactions, Mr Biden told a reporter that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if more people made allegations back in April 2019.

Asked if he wanted to apologise, Mr Biden said: “I am sorry I didn’t understand more.

“I am not sorry for any of my intentions.

“I am not sorry for anything that I have ever done — I’ve never been disrespectful, intentionally, to a man or a woman.”

He also released a video online, where he acknowledged this criticism.

He said: “Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted.

“And the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset.

“And I get it. I hear what they’re saying.

“I’ll be much more mindful, that’s my responsibility and I’ll meet it.

“But I’ll always believe that governing is about connecting with people.

“That won’t change, but I’ll be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space and that’s a good thing.”

Still, Vox pointed out last year that Mr Biden has “cast himself as an old-school candidate” and “his refusal to alter the way he interacts with women and girls may be part of his brand”, and his base may not want him to change.

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Some polls suggest many Democrats are worried about sexism and male power in government.

It must be pointed out that current US President Donald Trump has faced far more serious accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct.

At least 18 women came forward during his 2016 presidential campaign to complain about alleged incidents where the then presidential candidate, Mr Trump, had been inappropriate.

Then comments he made during an ‘Access Hollywood’ tape where he said his celebrity status meant he could “grab” women by the crotch also emerged.

Mr Trump apologised for the remarks and dubbed them “locker room talk”, but called his accusers liars.

However, speaking on this week’s BBC’s Americast, journalist Emily Maitlis noted that Mr Trump is trailing Mr Biden in support from suburban women voters by more than 20 percent.

She also said it seemed that Mr Trump had adopted a sentiment borrowed from the Fifties.

Speaking in Michigan this week, Mr Trump said: “You know what else? I’m also getting your husbands — they want to get back to work, right — we’re getting your husbands back to work!”

Ms Maitlis explained: “This is his vision of suburban America, where women just want their husbands to be going back to work — even though coronavirus has massively impacted women’s employment even more than it has men’s.”

Ms Maitlis continued: “He can’t, I think, actually be appealing to women voters necessarily.

“Is he appealing to the men themselves? Does it go back to a machismo of America and nostalgia and how it ‘used to be’? ‘We are going to keep the suburbs safe, law and order present’?”

Interestingly, Mr Trump wrapped up his speech by saying he “loves women much more than men”.

Co-founder of the Women for Trump organisation, Meshawn Maddox also defended the President over his attitudes towards women.

Speaking to The Guardian last year, she said she did not “elect him to date my daughter or be my pastor — I elected him to turn the country around and right the ship”.

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