Many, many things can change drastically in five years; however, unfortunately, and unapologetically, men—especially those who withhold high political positions— truly owning or simply apologizing for instances of sexual misconduct isn’t one of them. And now, still as unapologetic as ever in 2019, former VP Joe Biden sadly remains just another average Joe in this regard, too.
Amid recent reports that the former VP may run for the Democratic candidate slot in the 2020 U.S. Election, a former Nevada state legislator and a woman from Connecticut have come forth with allegations of Biden’s sexual misconduct during the Democratic campaign of 2014.
Last week, Lucy Flores, the former Nevada state legislator and a 2014 Democratic candidate, brought forth allegations against Biden for an interaction during the campaign. Therein, Flores details that Biden had “grossly kissed and smelled” her head and hair, which swiftly propelled her ensuing discomfort. Significantly, actions like Biden’s herein check boxes that amount to more than those of mere indecency: actions that don’t just invade personal space, but also grossly impose one’s own “ways” on another are unwarranted, lewd actions.
Among two other video statements and one written statement, an additional video statement was shared recently by Biden on Twitter to address the allegations. Throughout the pathetically short video, not one of the words in the statement mirrored any form of an apology.
Flores and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of The House, however, hit the nail on the head in their responses to Biden’s shallow sentiments. Altogether, it comes down to distinguishing that male Politicians at hand— and, really, often men in general—must treat amending instances of imposing discomfort, let alone sexual harassment, with immediacy and transparency. Flores’ ensuing tweet after Biden’s slew of statements rightfully targets the untimeliness and inefficiency imbedded in his apology, asserting that “given the work he has done on behalf of women, [former] Vice President Biden should be aware of how important it is to take personal responsibility for inappropriate behavior,” adding, “and yet he hasn’t apologized to the women he made uncomfortable.”
Pelosi’s respectable response took shots at Biden’s lack of transparency, as she purports to Politico that, “To say, ‘I’m sorry you were offended’ is not an apology. It’s ‘I’m sorry I invaded your space.’”
While Pelosi added that she and her family have known Biden for a long time, outlining the affectionate side of his personality as typical and potently “just the way he is,” she injects the understanding that, for Biden, “in the world that we’re in now, people’s space is important to them, and what’s important is how they receive it and not necessarily how you intended it.”
Yet, maladjustment to the world is fairly easily remedied by the age-old self-adjustment effort of simply learning by doing. Biden has certainly contributed the latter, yet his historic lack of personal apology deeply leaves him at bay to the public perception that he takes on matters like this with a poorly unconcerned demeanor.
One would be heavily remised to forget that when it rains, it pours: as if Biden’s lack of commitment to thorough apology didn’t already rain strong with wrongful perceptions of unimportance and indifference, his public joking of the matter at the recent International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers meeting brought a storm of public criticism—of which, especially at that point, is well-deserved.
Above all else, whether one points to 1991 Joe Biden—then-Senate Judiciary Chair who had the opportunity to bring forward crucial, supplementary witnesses on Anita Hill’s behalf in her allegations of sexual harassment against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas— or looks at other instances swirling around Biden in the 2000s through today, like this, it’s clear that accountability and apology remain dumbfoundingly left out of his long overdue address of such issues he still claims to feel personally sorry over.