"The boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset and I get it."
Their bromance became a thing of internet legend.
Both the former president and his wife Michelle have remained curiously silent almost a week after former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, claimed she was touched inappropriately by Biden, prompting at least three more women to make similar claims.
Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it. pic.twitter.com/Ya2mf5ODts— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 3, 2019
Each incident happened in public, and involved the politician hugging, placing his hands on shoulders or legs, or kissing their heads; while none of the women went as far as accusing him of purposely making sexual advances, it was enough to make them feel uncomfortable, whether he was aware of it or not.
Many women have come out in his defense — including some of the women in the circulated photographs deemed 'creepy'.
After issuing statements through spokespeople all week, the 76-year-old finally addressed the issue himself on Wednesday in a Twitter video, in which he admitted making women — and some men — feel uncomfortable, and promised to respect people's physical boundaries in future.
"In my career, I’ve always tried to make a human connection — that’s my responsibility, I think," he said. "I shake hands, I hug people, I grab men and women by the shoulders and say, 'You can do this'."
Biden claimed many have turned to him for support in times of tragedy, which is indeed something he knows a great deal about: his wife and one-year-old daughter were killed in a car accident in the Christmas of 1972, just one month after he was elected to the Senate. In 2015 his beloved son Beau died of brain cancer, aged 46.
Biden added: "Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset and I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying. I understand it. And I'll be much more mindful."
Donald Trump Jr, whose father once boasted about grabbing women "by the pussy" without repercussion, retweeted a video meme by Carpe Donktum mocking Biden's apology (see below).
Biden has yet to announce his candidacy for the 2020 Presidency, but is still considered a front-runner for the Democratic party.
Noooooooo Joe, NOT DURING THE APOLOGY! pic.twitter.com/YfOO6uoctr— Carpe Donktum🔹 (@CarpeDonktum) April 3, 2019