Former Vice President Joe Biden will have to be a better judge of how he reacts when people approach him, his wife Jill Biden said in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America Monday in response to recent allegations of inappropriate touching by her husband.
Jill and Joe Biden jointly responded to the allegations in his first television interview since Biden formally announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential race last week.
“I think what you don’t realize, how many people approach Joe – men and women looking for comfort or empathy,” Jill Biden told interviewer Robin Roberts. “But going forward, I think he’s going to have to be a better judge when people approach him, how he’s going to react that he maybe shouldn’t approach them.”
“I’ve always thought that part of leadership, part of politics was listening to people, hearing them, making them feel comfortable,” Joe Biden said. “It’s my responsibility to be more sensitive to whether or not someone wants me to reassure them,” he added.
The former Vice President has come under increasing scrutiny over the past few weeks after several number of women accused him of making them uncomfortable with what they called inappropriate touching. He later posted a 2-minute video on Twitter promising he would be “much more respectful and mindful” of personal space calling it his “responsibility.”
Biden also said he takes “responsibility” for Anita Hill’s treatment when she testified before the Senate Judiciary committee during Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearing. In 1991, when Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he presided over the hearing, in which Anita accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.
Biden has been repeatedly criticized for his handling of Hill’s testimony during Thomas’ confirmation process 28 years ago, when she accused the now-justice of sexually harassing her when he was her supervisor.
“I believed her from the very beginning, but I was chairman. She did not get a fair hearing. She did not get treated well. That’s my responsibility,” Biden told Roberts. “As the committee chairman, I take responsibility that she did not get treated well. I take responsibility for that.”
But Hill told the New York Times, “I cannot be satisfied by simply saying I’m sorry for what happened to you,” in an interview on 25 April. “I will be satisfied when I know there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”
On the subject of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into Russian election meddling, Biden said: “There was Russian interference without any question.”
There are elements in the second phase of the report, added Biden, that are left undone. “It was not within [Robert Mueller’s] purview to investigate…”What the Congress should do, and they are doing, is investigate that.,” Biden said.
“If they block the investigation, they have no alternative but to go to the only other Constitutional resort they have, which is impeachment. But my job, in the meantime, is to make sure he’s not back as president of the United States of America.”
Early polls show that Biden is the frontrunner not just in the democratic field but also in the general election. He raised $6.3 million within 24 hours of launching his campaign, the biggest first-day wins of any candidate in the Democratic field.