SALT LAKE CITY — Former Vice President Joe Biden found himself in hot water this week.
Biden defended his interactions with women after a Nevada politician, Democrat Lucy Flores, said that Biden’s kiss on the back of her head made her feel uncomfortable, The Associated Press reports. Democrats questioned Biden in the immediate aftermath of the allegations.
Then, on Monday, a Connecticut woman accused Biden of touching her inappropriately when he “rubbed noses with her during a 2009 political fundraiser in Greenwich,” according to The Hartford Courant.
The allegations have inspired a number of writers to opine on Biden and his future within the Democratic Party and the 2020 presidential race. We've collected nine different opinion pieces on the topic and shared them below.
The Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin wrote that Biden’s actions aren’t comparable to #MeToo.
- “This is not an excuse. His touching is often inappropriate and can be unnerving. He should cut it out and apologize to those who felt uncomfortable. However, this is not #MeToo sexual harassment or assault. In the crazed atmosphere of immediate takes and absolute judgments, it’s difficult for some to make distinctions, but that is what grown-ups are supposed to do. Biden’s habitual embraces can be inappropriate without being sexual harassment; his conduct can be a demerit without being disqualifying.”
Elizabeth Alexander, an opinion contributor for USA Today, wrote that Biden has always been a champion of women.
- “Not many people get the chance to see a politician away from the crowds and cameras; not many get the chance to see what they’re really like and what they do when no one is looking. I’ve had that chance. And the Joe Biden who is on the pages of history is the same person I knew when no one was writing it down.”
The Washington Post’s editorial writer Molly Roberts wrote that the Biden story shows that men have to do better.
- “Biden may be a good man in his heart of hearts, and that may distinguish him from the hordes of bad men who hurt women and mean to do it. But men have to do better than not meaning to hurt people. They have to not hurt people, period — even if that means recognizing that sometimes, just being yourself isn’t the best thing for everyone else.”
Roxanne Jones, a founding editor for ESPN Magazine, wrote for CNN that Biden has lost his glow and appeal as a presidential candidate.
- “We know Democrats face a tough, divisive fight in 2020. And before the battle, I want to know who has my back. Who will fight for us — all of us — when things get grimy? Now, it's hard to know if Joe's right for this fight.”
New York Daily News writer Joy Blanchard opined that Biden shouldn’t be a target for the #MeToo movement since he has been open to talking about allegations against him.
- “The #MeToo movement should be eager to embrace those willing to accept responsibility for their transgressions. Just as I strive to be a social justice ally, over the years I have inadvertently said things that may have offended my friends and colleagues of a different race, religion or sexual orientation. By being faced with my flaws, I am confronted with my imperfect truth, and am given grace to grow, educate myself and change. It is by openly engaging in difficult and much needed conversations that we can change minds, hearts, attitudes, and perspectives about gender-based aggression, harassment and assault.”
Fox News writer Liz Peek said Biden “may have kissed his chance for Dem nomination goodbye.”
- “Democrats face an awkward choice. If they continue to back Biden, they forego the appealing prospect of hounding Donald Trump about past charges of sexual misconduct. A Biden candidacy would weaken their grip on women voters, who were critical to Democrats’ midterm victories.”
Michelle Goldberg wrote for The New York Times that it’s the wrong time for Joe Biden.
- “No one should judge the whole span of Biden’s career by the standards of 2019, but if he’s going to run for president, it’s fair to ask whether he’s the right leader for this moment. He is a product of his time, but that time is up.”
David Leonhardt wrote for The New York Times that the allegations shouldn't define Biden's presidential bid.21 comments on this story
- "I’ve interviewed other politicians who touched me repeatedly during the conversation, and it was unnecessary. I hope Biden understands why the habit makes some people uncomfortable. But I’m increasingly thinking that it should not become a defining issue for his likely campaign."
David Oscar Markus, a criminal defense attorney, wrote for The Hill that the allegations against Biden might mean the #MeToo movement lost its way.
- "If the #MeToo movement is going to string up people for innocent, non-sexual, and well-intentioned acts, it has lost its way. There are plenty of well-deserving bad actors out there to focus on. Biden is not one of them."