President Joe Biden was reluctant to apologize to the women who accused him of inappropriately touching them, according to a new book about the 2020 presidential election.
Biden was accused by Lucy Flores, the 2014 Nevada Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, of sniffing her hair and kissing the back of her head before endorsing her campaign.
Shortly after, several other women came forward, including the wife of the police officer injured during the Boston marathon terrorist attack, who said Biden began inappropriately “rubbing” her back during a remembrance ceremony a year after the bombing.
However, Biden told aides that he did not understand why Flores had accused him of inappropriate behavior.
“I thought I was doing the opposite,” he told aides at the time, according to “Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency”. “I’ve always tried to support women.”
Biden initially refused to apologize, the book says, which is why his campaign released a statement say Biden never thought he “acted inappropriately.”
“I don’t think he understood it on some level,” said a longtime Biden ally. “He constantly thought ‘Yeah, so what? What’s the big deal?’ He needed a lot of convincing. Every time someone flagged that it was a problem, it went right over his head.”
Another adviser said at the time: “He won’t apologize because he thinks he did nothing wrong.”
Biden didn’t apologize to Flores until five days after the allegations surfaced.
He maintained that he hadn’t acted inappropriately but promised to be more respectful of people’s personal space moving forward.
“I shake hands, I hug people, I grab men and women by the shoulders and say, ‘You can do this.’ Whether they are women, men, young, old, it’s the way I’ve always been. It’s the way I show I care about them, that I listen,” Biden said in his apology. “Social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted. And the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. And I get it. I get it. I hear what they’re saying, I understand it. And I’ll be much more mindful. That’s my responsibility and I’ll meet it.”