American politicians often donate documents to libraries after they retire as a record of their political activity. The libraries catalogue and preserve them, and they become a valuable resource for future historical research. For example, the Joseph McCarthy Papers are preserved at the library of Marquette University in Wisconsin. McCarthy was a former anti-communist senator who purged a nest of Soviet spies in the American federal government.
The Jimmy Carter Library in Atlanta, Georgia, preserves the Walter Mondale Papers. Mondale was a vice president under the Carter administration who declared the Senkaku Islands, also known as the Diaoyu Islands, beyond the scope of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty while serving as ambassador to Japan.
Biden’s Social Distancing
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, also donated the documents of his time as a senator to the University of Delaware in 2011. But he conditioned their release on his retirement from political life. The collection is vast since he served as a senator for a long time (1973 – 2009); it fills 1,875 boxes.
When the United States was assaulted by the coronavirus disaster, the country emphasized the need for social distancing. The administration recommended standing six feet apart from other people to safeguard against airborne infection. Long before that, there was no clear definition of social distance. There is physical contact in Western greetings like handshakes, hugs and kisses on the cheek, but following that, the parties maintain an appropriate distance.
Biden’s social distancing was known for being far shorter than normal. Needless to say, this was the case with women as well. In the recent Democratic primaries, he was frequently seen making unusual contact with Democratic politicians and party members (always women).
Sense of Discomfort Made Public
According to Slate, seven women had already made their sense of discomfort with this behavior public by April 2019. A female White House intern related this to the Washington Post:
“It was in 2013. I was trying to exit the basement of the West Wing when I was asked to step aside so Biden could enter. He approached me to introduce himself and shake my hand. He then put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me … His intentions weren’t bad, but it was the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace.”
There are many photos of Biden doing exactly what the intern described.
Biden’s supporters defend his behavior as “his own particular expression of affection,” but feminist groups are uncomfortable. This is why President Donald Trump mocks him as “Creepy Joe.”
If this was all there was to it, nothing might have happened if Biden promised to be more careful in the future. But in March, a woman claimed that Biden assaulted her in 1993 when he was a senator and she worked in his office. The details cannot be definitively reported. Even major media outlets that support the Democratic Party and which were silent at first, eventually bowed to public pressure and reluctantly began to report about the matter. MSNBC, a news channel at the vanguard of Trump’s opposition, interviewed Biden remotely on May 1 as he stayed at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. When he was directly asked about the matter, he responded “No, it is not true.”
How Do You Dodge a Boomerang?
Two years ago, Democrats fiercely denounced a similar incident involving Brett Kavanaugh, then a Supreme Court nominee. They disliked his conservative stance on abortion. They completely believed the woman who came forward with allegations that he assaulted her during their high school years (the early 1980s) and they asked him to prove he was not guilty. Kavanaugh countered with the diary he had kept contemporaneously. For her part, the woman who accused Kavanaugh presented ambiguous testimony before Congress, offering no corroborating witnesses, and thus, the nomination was confirmed.
The Democrats’ denunciation of Kavanaugh is now boomeranging. They took the position that the testimony of women in the #MeToo movement should be believed outright and that the men they accuse must prove their innocence. Under pressure from feminists, the Democrats placed the burden of proof on men. Because they warped legal precedent, the Democrats must also request proof of Biden’s innocence.
As I wrote at the beginning, the Biden Papers are in the University of Delaware library. The woman in question left her job in Biden’s office after the incident. Somewhere in those 1,875 boxes there may be documents about that story, but Biden has refused to release them. Naturally, the backlash from women is growing. The wishes of feminist groups, who are core Democratic supporters, are very influential at the summer Democratic National Conventions. How will Biden and the Democrats dodge this boomerang?