Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has sparked new concerns over his ‘creepy’ behavior after he called a young girl “good looking” and held her shoulders, weeks after a vow to be more “mindful” of people’s personal space.
During the American Federation of Teachers town hall campaign event on Tuesday, the 10 year-old-girl asked Biden a question about political division in the US. Biden approached her and said: “I’ll bet you’re as bright as you are good-looking.”
He then asked the girl what her favorite subject was. When she said it was journalism, he brought her to where the media was gathered and put his hands on her shoulders, letting them linger for what seemed to be an uncomfortable amount of time, while sermonizing about the value of a free press.
The moment immediately raised eyebrows online, with Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez calling he exchange an “odd moment.” Many went further, however, saying that the interaction indicated a “staggering lack of self-awareness” and “clear lack of perception of acceptable behavior.”
Fellow Democratic presidential candidate Senator Mike Gravel tweeted that Biden’s “creepiness around young girls” is “not something to be dismissed.”
Numerous women have accused Biden of making them feel uncomfortable with his overly-affectionate ways. Last month he released a video message, saying he understood that social norms had shifted and vowed to be “more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.”