One would assume that President Joe Biden, who has a history of awkwardly close relationships with children, would make sure that he is never caught on camera entering the Oval Office with a youngster holding each of his hands.
But this is Joe Biden, and he seems to be barely cognizant, much less aware of how it appears to others. Therefore, it’s possible that you’ve seen yet another video clip of the president interacting with two children, which has been circulating on social media over the past several days:
WARNING: The following tweets should be considered objectionable to some readers due to their use of graphic language.
This is weird as shit, even for Joe Biden…
All of the idiots that ignore and/or downplay these things are enabling this behavior. Parents, for the love of God… please keep your young children away from the Big Guy. pic.twitter.com/h5Z7BKmqvb
— Gain of Fauci (@DschlopesIsBack) May 19, 2023
A girl asks Biden about his most recent trip to Poland at the start of the video. Why don’t you come over to the Oval Office and ask me? Biden asks, not appearing to grasp what she’s saying.
Then it appears as though a boy from behind the camera wants to join as well as someone asks on his behalf. They do, and the trio is seen entering the Oval Office.
“All of the idiots that ignore and/or downplay these things are enabling this behavior. Parents, for the love of God… please keep your young children away from the Big Guy,” a user named “Gain of Fauci” said in a Friday tweet. Another user called it “serious and disturbing.”
This is serious and disturbing.
— Azzila 🙄 (@azzilathehun) May 19, 2023
Is it? Let’s establish some context first, though. A little research revealed that this clip isn’t particularly recent. It actually dates back to April, specifically from the White House’s Take Your Child to Work Day celebration, when almost everyone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue had an excuse to be near kids.
Marek Wakuski, a White House correspondent for Polish Radio, shared the video in its original form. He didn’t seem to draw any unfavorable conclusions from Biden’s interaction with the kids:
Po zaskakującym zaproszeniu do Gabinetu Owalnego przez @POTUS Nina jest zachwycona. Biden nie tylko pokazał zdjęcia rodziny i opowiedział o swojej pracy, ale nawet pozwolił posiedzieć przy prezydenckim biurku i poczęstował ciastkami. @polskieradiopl pic.twitter.com/4burIe70cO
— Marek Wałkuski (@Marekwalkuski) April 27, 2023
Translating this post written in Polish into English, the Twitter user said, “After a surprising invitation to the Oval Office by @POTUS Nina is delighted. Biden not only showed photos of his family and talked about his work, but even allowed him to sit at the president’s desk and offered cookies.”
Although it’s not obvious who was with the kids in the Oval Office or who asked for the boy’s entry, it’s important to note that Wakuski also has a daughter who goes by the name Nina. It’s not known who shot the video or if they were aware of the, ahem, subtext some viewers might interpret it as having.
However, the video is representative of Biden’s larger pattern, which is why we are even discussing the unpleasant subtext in the first place. One of the first scandals his 2020 presidential campaign had to deal with was an accusation from a Democratic official that he had gravely violated her personal space during an event in Nevada while he was vice president. Then-candidate issued a non-apology apology in response to that claim and other unpleasant photos that had accumulated over the years, promising to be more considerate of other people’s privacy and move with the times:
Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. 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. pic.twitter.com/Ya2mf5ODts
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 3, 2019
“You know, social norms have begun to change,” Biden said in the video. “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. I understand it, and I’ll be more mindful.”
Based on his presidency’s documented social media activity, that appears to be false.
Biden is doing it again.
This time he touches a woman's shoulder and doesn't let go for 45 seconds pic.twitter.com/wFTG8DehW3
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) October 18, 2022
Creepy Joe Biden in action pic.twitter.com/TGVn11DaLn
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) February 3, 2023
"She was 12 and I was 30."
– Joe Biden pic.twitter.com/bmit4z9oqa
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 23, 2022
Biden chatting with a child during bill signing
"Meet me after this, I can show you around the White House.” pic.twitter.com/ZjDOacyI9H
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) November 18, 2021
In reality, Uncle Joe was frequently creepy during the Obama presidency, when he served as vice president and there was no shortage of unpleasant weirdness to be found.
If that wasn't disturbing enough, in this clip, Biden not only touches a young woman but smells her hair, kisses her, whispering something into her ear, only to tell her "see you back home, I hope" after visibly creeping out her and who I assume is her mother. pic.twitter.com/WrFLWmAPFJ
— RAM (Richard Armande Mills) (@RAMRANTS) November 13, 2017
In this clip, Biden swears-in (R) Senator Jim Risch. During photographs, Biden touches Risch's daughter, specifically asking to take a photo alone with her. You can hear Risch say "Dad's going to stand pretty close." (I wonder why?) Biden even jokes and says, "If I was young…" pic.twitter.com/LLqJ4guU0q
— RAM (Richard Armande Mills) (@RAMRANTS) November 13, 2017
Indeed, on Take Your Child to Work Day, this wasn’t even the first incident that raised some red flags. See another video when he responds to a child’s query by saying, “Yes, baby?”
“What’s it like in the White House?” the girl asked. Biden’s reply? “Well, what’s it like in the White House? Well, here. Come here. You hang with me for a minute and I — You don’t want to go into the White House? OK, all right. OK.”
Does this meet that standard? No, because it’s far less evident what was happening here. We can assume that this girl’s father works as a White House correspondent for a significant European media outlet. In the Oval Office, were they joined by him or the girl’s mother? Was he the one who recorded the audio? All of that background information is absent, and since Wakuski works for a state broadcaster in Europe, it’s not obvious if he would have even been aware of how this may appear to someone more familiar with the president’s background.
What we can say is that Joe Biden still doesn’t get it, four years after the first concrete claims that he had harassed a woman in an uncomfortable manner and more than ten years after users of social media started noticing awkward moments involving the current president. Either he is too far gone to recognize his unsettling eccentricities or he is too cocky to care about disrespecting the privacy of women and children. Regardless of which one it is, it still doesn’t speak well of a man who is running for re-election as the world’s most powerful leader.