Joe Biden’s campaign announcement faces backlash and support

Joe Biden has officially announced his run for president in the 2020 Presidential election.

Biden worked as an attorney before becoming the fifth youngest U.S. Senator in history, eventually breaking the record and becoming Delaware’s longest serving senator. Biden ran for president in 2008, and became vice president for Barack Obama, serving two terms.

Biden is a “Hard-Core Liberal” according to On the Issues, an American non-partisan, non-profit organization that provides information about candidates. Biden supports abortion as a woman’s unrestricted right, legally requiring hiring women and minorities, and strongly favors same-sex marriage, according to On the Issues.

In Biden’s announcement video, Biden recalled the Charlottesville protests led by white supremacists, and quoted Donald Trump’s reaction, which stated that there were “some very fine people on both sides.” Biden calls to this quote in the announcement video, stating that if Trump is allowed to continue in office “he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.”

Controversy surrounds the beginning of Biden’s campaign, and specifically his involvement with Anita Hill’s sexual harassment case that took place 30 years ago. In 1991, Hill testified before the summit that, Clarence Thomas, supreme court nominee at the time had sexually harassed her. At the time, Biden chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, which, according to political analyst Eugene Scott, “rushed through Hill’s comments and did not allow other women to offer corroborating testimony.”

Law professor Katharine T. Bartlett with The New York Times believed the controversy Biden was facing was misguided, according to Bartlett, “To be sure, he is hardly blameless for the failures of the hearings. But the opprobrium generated by other senators’ egregious mistreatment of Ms. Hill seems to have unfairly rubbed off on him.”

Biden apologized to Hill in a phone call, to which Hill responded by saying “I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you,’ I will be satisfied when I know that there is real change and real accountability and real purpose.”

Despite controversy, Biden’s campaign has been met with major financial support, raising $6.3 million within the first 24 hours, the biggest first day haul reported among the 20 democratic candidates running, according to the Washington Post. “We are incredibly heartened by the energy and enthusiasm displayed throughout the country for Joe Biden,” said Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s campaign spokeswoman.

According to Matt Stieb of the Intelligencer, another topic of discussion regarding Biden’s campaign has been the accusations placed against him. One came from lieutenant governor nominee Lucy Flores, who wrote of a time Biden kissed her head during an event for her 2014 campaign, “He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused.”

Another accusation came from former congressional aide Amy Lappos regarding an encounter in October 2009, while volunteering at a fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut. “It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head, he put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth,” stated Lappos.

Opinion contributor for USA Today, Ashley Pratte, stated she did not think these allegations hurt Biden’s support from women. “We must acknowledge that there are differences between predatory and affectionate actions – and that we should never be made to feel uncomfortable and should speak up when we feel that way,” stated Pratte.

Some critics have criticized Biden’s way of apologizing for these controversies, “Biden consistently framed himself as a victim of circumstance,” stated Natasha Lennard, journalist for The Intercept. “When questioned about recent accusations of touching women inappropriately, Biden said, ‘I’m sorry this happened, but I’m not sorry in the sense that I think I did anything that was intentionally designed to do anything wrong or be inappropriate.’”

Others in the 2020 race include former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts senator and former Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren. The two current Republican candidates are Donald Trump, and former federal prosecutor William Weld.

Photo courtesy of Joe Biden’s campaign website