From the Left



Does Biden's 'GroperGate' matter? Let the voters decide

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

I was ready to call former Vice President Joe Biden's handsyness scandal "GroperGate" until I found that Canadian headline writers had beat me to it.

They came up with the label and such tabloid headlines as "Grope? Nope" last year when an 18-year-old allegation against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was resurrected by an anonymous female journalist.

Trudeau denied the allegation, then later allowed that men and women can remember these episodes quite differently. Then he awkwardly apologized for whatever he might have done that he couldn't remember.

I bring this episode up now because the charge is so similar to those that two women have leveled against Biden in recent days.

And those charges are very similar to a gazillion other instances of politicians who have taken the old political campaigning metaphor "pressing the flesh" a bit too far.

Old allegations like those against Trudeau and Biden have taken on new life since the fall of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and other celebrities charged with sexual misconduct and the rise of the #MeToo movement of victims who aren't remaining silent anymore.


Which brings us back to Biden, for whom the groping charge is hardly new.

As the headline on a defense of Biden penned by Niall O'Dowd of the Irish Central news site said Monday, "Joe Biden is a touchy-feely, old-style Irish politician -- get used to him."

Biden is a "serial groper with men too," O'Dowd observes. "I've often felt that moment when Joe meets you with a bear hug, a friendly clap on the back and a rapid-fire series of questions about your family all the time keeping his hands on your shoulders."

Me too. Having covered Biden off and on since his first short-lived presidential run in 1987, I have witnessed close-up the relentless Biden charm that leaves people praising "Joe being Joe" or "good ol' Uncle Joe," the retail politician who would shake every hand in the nation, if you cut him loose long enough.


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