Donald Trump defends video mocking Joe Biden, says he doesn’t view former VP as a ‘threat’ in 2020

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Friday defended mocking former Vice President Joe Biden shortly before Biden was set to give his first speech following allegations of unwanted touching by several women.

“People got a kick out of it,” Trump said of the doctored video he’d tweeted Thursday. “He’s going through a situation. You’ve got to sort of smile a little bit.”

Trump’s video poked fun at the potential presidential candidate’s recent explanation that his propensity for touching other people was about making a “human connection.”  

Trump said he wasn’t trying to take down Biden because he feared facing him in 2020.

“I don’t see Joe Biden as a threat,” Trump said. “I think he’s only a threat to himself …he’d have to run on the failed Obama record.”

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Biden was scheduled to address a labor group at a Washington hotel later Friday morning.

He responded to Trump’s video Thursday with a tweet of his own.

“I see that you are on the job and presidential, as always,” Biden said.

Biden, a Democrat who served 36 years representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate prior to his time as vice president, is expected by many to announce his entry into the 2020 presidential race in the coming weeks.

Most polls have him leading the race for the Democratic nomination, according to RealClearPolitics.

The timing of that decision has been complicated by allegations of improper conduct that began when Lucy Flores, a former member of the Nevada Legislature, accused Biden in a March 29 New York Magazine article of “demeaning and disrespectful” behavior for an alleged 2014 incident.

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Since then, at least six other women have come forward with similar stories of Biden’s unwanted conduct.

Biden, known for his hugging and hands-on politicking style, promised to be more “mindful and respectful” in a video released Wednesday.

With Joe Biden making headlines for an apparent inappropriate interaction with Lucy Flores, a photo has resurfaced of Biden with Stephanie Carter. (Photo: Buzz60)

“Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying,” he said in a tweet accompanying the video. “Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.”

The former vice president is expected to address the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, representing approximately 775,000 members in the construction, manufacturing, railroad and utilities fields – the kind of blue-collar workers who helped propel Trump to the White House in 2016.

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The allegations against Biden come amid #MeToo, a movement of mostly women speaking out against inappropriate behavior. It has led to the resignation and downfall of more than 100 entertainers, executives and politicians, including Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Kevin Spacey.

Former Minnesota Democrat Sen. Al Franken announced his resignation in 2017 following accusations of sexual misconduct. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., also stepped down, along with Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., who resigned amid reports he discussed with female staffers the possibility they could be surrogates for his and his wife’s baby.

President Donald Trump has been accused of having affairs with multiple women and making unwanted advances at others. In an “Access Hollywood” tape that surfaced during the final weeks of the presidential campaign in 2016, Trump was heard making lewd comments and bragging about groping women. Trump has denied the allegations.

Contributing: David Jackson, USA TODAY.

 

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