Three more women have come forward to allege uncomfortable touching by Joe Biden, raising the number of women who have now accused the former vice-president of inappropriate behavior to seven.
Speaking to the Washington Post on Wednesday, former White House intern Vail Kohnert-Yount said that Biden “pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me” in 2013 while she was leaving the basement of the West Wing.
“I was so shocked that it was hard to focus on what he was saying. I remember he told me I was a ‘pretty girl,’” she said. She added that while his behavior and comment on her appearance fell short of harassment, it nonetheless left her feeling deeply uncomfortable.
“I do not consider my experience to have been sexual assault or harassment,” she said. “But it was the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace.”
Six other women have also accused Biden of inappropriate behavior, ranging from unsolicited kisses on the back of the head to rubbing noses with a political aide he was meeting for the first time. None of the women have accused him of harassment, but all have said that his actions were upsetting, and some accused him of displaying subconsciously misogynistic behavior.
In a video issued on Wednesday, Biden declined to apologize to his accusers, but promised to “be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space.”
“In my career, I’ve always tried to make a human connection — that’s my responsibility, I think,” he said. “I shake hands, I hug people, I grab men and women by the shoulders and say, ‘You can do this’ … [But] 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.”