Pelosi’s ad­vice to Bi­den: ‘Pre­tend you have a cold’

The Tribune (SLO) - - News - BY THOMAS BEAU­MONT AND STEPHEN BRAUN

WASH­ING­TON

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.

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