Pelosi says Biden allegations aren’t ‘disqualifying,’ but he needs to understand ‘people’s space is important’ – USA TODAY
Nancy Pelosi doesn’t think allegations of inappropriate behavior against Joe Biden ‘disqualify him’ from being president.
“I don’t think it’s disqualifying,” the California Democrat said Tuesday at a Politico event when asked about the allegations against Biden by two women.
She said Biden, who has long been known to be physically affectionate toward his male and female friends, needs to improve his understanding of the importance of people’s personal space.
“He has to understand that in the world we’re in now that people’s space is important to them,” Pelosi said.
Biden allegations: How the 2020 presidential candidates responded
“I do think it’s about communication in general,” she explained. She called herself “a member of the straight-arm club,” demonstrating a rigid extension of her right arm for a handshake. “I just pretend you have a cold and I have a cold.”
Last week, former Nevada state representative Lucy Flores said in an article for New York magazine that Biden gave her an unsolicited touch on the shoulders and kissed the back of her head as she prepared to take the stage at a 2014 political rally.
And the day Pelosi made her comment, the Hartford Courant reported that a second woman, Amy Lappos, 43, said Biden grabbed her head and rubbed noses with her at a 2009 fundraiser in Connecticut.
Biden said in a statement on Sunday that he did not recall the incident with Flores but that he doesn’t believe he ever “acted inappropriately.”
“If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention,” he said.
“I think that it’s important for the vice president and others to understand is it isn’t what was intended, it’s how it was received,” Pelosi said Tuesday. “To say, ‘I’m sorry that you were offended’ is not an apology.”
Biden’s potential opponents in the 2020 Democratic primary have not said they think the allegations disqualify the former vice president from running, but many of them have said it is an issue he will have to address if he plans to seek the nomination.