Former Vice President Joe Biden allegedly had forehead-to-forehead conversations with women who weren’t his wife.
According to three women who spoke with The Washington Post, Biden reportedly made them uncomfortable during brief meetings with the potential frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, should Biden ever officially declare.
The women, Vail Kohnert-Yount, Sofie Karasek and Ally Coll, recounted times in which Biden touched them; two of the women claimed that Biden came forehead to forehead with them in an article published late Wednesday, just shortly after Biden released a two-minute video to pledge to be more mindful of women’s personal space.
Kohnert-Yount told the newspaper that in 2013 while working as an intern in the White House, Biden introduced himself to her and shook her hand.
“He then put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me,” she told the Post in a statement. “I was so shocked that it was hard to focus on what he was saying. I remember he told me I was a ‘pretty girl.’”
Kohnert-Yount added that she didn’t believe that the incident was sexual harassment or assault.
“But it was the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace,” she said.
Karasek told the Post that she met Biden during the Oscars where she appeared with a group of 51 sexual assault survivors and Lady Gaga in 2016. After telling Biden about a friend who’d committed suicide, she claims that Biden took her hands and put his forehead against hers.
Karasek told the Post that while she appreciated Biden’s support, she wasn’t cool with Biden’s forehead being all up in her personal space, and by personal space, I mean being directly against her forehead.
Coll met Biden during the 2008 election. She claims that she was introduced to Biden and the old man squeezed her shoulders, complimented her and held her for “for a beat too long.”
“There’s been a lack of understanding about the way that power can turn something that might seem innocuous into something that can make somebody feel uncomfortable,” Coll, who now runs the Purple Campaign, a nonprofit that combats sexual harassment, told the Post. She added that Biden’s video represented “a continued lack of understanding about why these stories are being told and their relevance in the #MeToo era.”
The total number of women claiming that Biden does not know when to break the huddle has grown to seven. Caitlyn Caruso, D. J. Hill, former Nevada state lawmaker Lucy Flores and Amy Lappos, a former congressional aide to Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), have all come forward publicly with allegations in recent days, The Hill reports.
Biden acknowledged that times have changed and said he would adjust his behavior.
“Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset, and I get it,” Biden said in the video. “I hear what they’re saying. I understand it. I’ll be much more mindful. That’s my responsibility, and I’ll meet it.”
I don’t know a time when women wanted nonconsensual forehead-to-forehead touching or for men to invade their personal space, but noting that “social norms have changed” feels like a “Make America Great Again” statement from Biden, where it sounded good but he might want to rethink this.
In fact, he might want to rethink all of it, including running for president.