Pelosi’s advice to Biden: ‘Pretend you have a cold’
As former Vice President Joe Biden’s camp scrambles to contain any political damage over his past behavior with women, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has some words of advice: Keep your distance.
“Join the straight-arm club,” Pelosi told a breakfast hour Washington event on Tuesday.
In other words, keep your handshakes at arms’ length and don’t be touchy-feely.
“Just pretend you have a cold and I have a cold,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi, D-Calif., told the event, which was sponsored by Politico, that Biden “has to understand that in the world we are in now people’s space is important to them and what’s important is how they receive it, not necessarily how you intended it.”
Her remarks came as Biden’s aides are striking a more aggressive tone as he considers running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and faces scrutiny over his past behavior toward women.
In a statement on Monday, Biden spokesman Bill Russo blasted “right wing trolls” from “the dark recesses of the internet” for conflating images of Biden embracing acquaintances, colleagues and friends in his official capacity during swearing-in ceremonies with uninvited touching.
Two women have said Biden touched them inappropriately in the past. Amy Lappos, a former aide to Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, said Monday that Biden touched her face with both hands and rubbed noses in 2009. Former Nevada politician Lucy Flores penned amagazine essay last week in which she wrote that Biden kissed her on the back of the head in 2014.
The developments underscored the challenge facing Biden should he decide to seek the White House. Following historic wins in the 2018 midterms, Democratic politics is dominated by energy from women. The allegations could leave the 76-year-old Biden appearing out of touch with the party as the Democratic presidential primary begins.
Lappos told The Associated Press that she and other Himes aides were helping out at a fundraiser in a private home in Hartford, Connecticut, in October 2009 when Biden entered the kitchen to thank the group for pitching in.