Biden Promises to Be 'More Mindful' About Personal Space After Women Accuse Him of Inappropriate Touching

Former Vice President Joe Biden responded Wednesday to extensive criticism he has received after several women came forward and accused him of making them uncomfortable by touching them inappropriately at public events.

Biden, in a two-minute video, acknowledged that times have changed, and, while he did not directly apologize for his actions, he did pledge to be more mindful of women’s personal space and to 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.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Politico Tuesday that Biden should apologize for his actions.

“To say I’m sorry that you were offended — is not an apology. I’m sorry I invaded your space, but not I’m sorry you were offended,” Pelosi said in an interview with Politico Tuesday. “What’s that? That’s not accepting the fact that people think differently about communication whether it’s a handshake or a hug.”

Biden still, however, defended his actions as innocent, saying his displays of public affection are how he connects with people.

“I shake hands, I hug people. I grab men and women by the shoulders and say “you can do this.” And whether they’re women, men, young, old, it’s the way I’ve always been. It’s the way I’ve tried to show I care about them and I’m listening,” the 75-year-old former vice president said.

Four women have come forward over the past week, saying Biden’s touching made them feel uncomfortable.

According to ABC News, Lucy Flores, a former Nevada lawmaker, was the first to come forward last Friday when she accused Biden of crossing the line when he put his hands on her shoulders and kissed the back of her head while campaign in 2014, calling the incident “awkward and disturbing.”

Amy Lappos told the Hartford Courant Monday that the former vice president rubbed noses with her at a 2009 fundraiser. “It wasn’t sexual I don’t think, but it was incredibly uncomfortable, and it was not how he greeted the congressmen,” Lappos said.

Two other women, Caitlyn Caruso and D.J. Hill, told The New York Times on Tuesday that they felt uncomfortable with their interactions with Biden.

Caruso, who was just 19-years-old at the time and a sexual assault survivor, said Biden rested his hand on her thigh and hugged her “just a little bit too long” at an event on sexual assault. Hill told the Times that she met Biden at a 2012 fundraiser, and recalled the former vice president resting his hand on her shoulder before sliding it down her back during a picture.

Biden has apologized after the first allegations came to light, saying it wasn’t his “intent” to make others uncomfortable.

The former vice president is expected to make his presidential bid official after Easter, according to The Hill, and the video shows just how seriously Biden is considering a run.

“In the coming month I expect to be talking to you about a whole lot of issues, and I’ll always be direct with you,” he said.

But the allegations have threatened to derail his candidacy before he even officially announces it, and Biden seems to be hoping that the video will allow him to proceed with this bid without any hesitations.

Furthermore, just minutes after the video was posted, it was announced that Biden had added an event to his schedule this Friday, where he will address the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Construction and Maintenance Conference in Washington D.C.

“I’ll always believe, governing, and life for that matter, is about connecting with people, that won’t change,” Biden said Wednesday.

“I’ll always believe governing quite frankly — life for that matter — is about connecting, about connecting with people. That won’t change. But I will be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space, and that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing,” he added. “I worked my whole life to empower women. I’ve worked my whole life to prevent abuse — I’ve written — and so the idea that I can’t adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it’s ever been, is just not thinkable. I will. I will.”