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Controversy shadows Biden's 2020 presidential campaign

by Kari Ashworth - Copy Editor
Tue, Apr 30th 2019 10:00 pm
presidential run Former Vice President Joe Biden has decided to make a push for president in the 2020 election, following eight years of working under former president Barack Obama.
presidential run Former Vice President Joe Biden has decided to make a push for president in the 2020 election, following eight years of working under former president Barack Obama.

Former Vice President Joe Biden officially announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election after months of deliberation. Biden made the announcement on Thursday, April 25, and it was not without controversy.

In a video message, Biden announced his candidacy and played defense immediately. He condemned the Charlottesville white supremacy rally that occurred in August 2017 and denounced President Trump’s handling of the situation. 

“He said there were quote ‘some very fine people on both sides,’” Biden said. “With those words, the President of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.”

He went on to explain this election is a “battle for the soul of this nation” and that the core values of the United States are at stake, which is why he has decided to run.

According to CNN, Trump described the match-up with Biden a “dream,” but many Republicans are weary that Biden could win out over Trump.

However, Biden’s announcement came after weeks of scrutiny. Multiple women have come out against Biden, saying he made them feel uncomfortable in their encounters. Biden does not believe he has acted inappropriately but said he’s willing to listen to women’s experiences and be more mindful of personal space in the future, according to CNN.

Video footage of Biden giving a speech to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ conference in Washington, D.C. shows him making light of the issue. He opened his speech by joking that he’d received permission to hug the group’s president after he was introduced, according to NBC News.

Another controversy plaguing his candidacy is his handling of Anita Hill’s testimony in 1991. According to The New York Times, Biden contacted Hill a few weeks prior to his presidential bid and shared “his regret for what she endured” 28 years ago when he presided over the hearings as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Hill told The New York Times that she was left deeply unsatisfied and refused to acknowledge his words as an apology. She believes he has not fully taken responsibility for his conduct or the harm he caused not only her but other victims of sexual harassment and gender-based violence. She also believes his conduct “set the stage” for last year’s hearings. 

Still, Hill is open to people changing and would consider supporting him in the 2020 election, if he takes full responsibility for his conduct and can differentiate himself from Trump.

“The focus on an apology, to me, is one thing,” Hill said. “But there needs to be an apology to the other witnesses and there needs to be an apology to the American public because we know how deeply disappointed Americans around the country were about what they saw. And not just women. There are women and men now who have just really lost confidence in our government to respond to the problem of gender violence.”

It has been interesting for me, as a 19-year-old woman, to see this upcoming election play out. The #MeToo movement has created a new element to elections that was not there before, and more women are coming forward about their experiences. As a society, we are at the point where we must decide who we want leading us and, more importantly, who we are comfortable with leading us. For me, Trump is not someone I am comfortable with. Politics aside, he has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct and that does not sit well with me. 

Biden is not without his faults either. The women coming forward about their encounters with Biden are alarming. However, Biden’s actions have always been strangely contradictory. The Anita Hill hearings were in 1991, where he publically humiliated Hill and mishandled the hearings simply because he did not believe her. Three years later, the Violence Against Women Act was passed, co-authored by the late Rep. Louise Slaughter and Biden himself. For me, this has always been a strange dichotomy, simply because the context of the bill should have been in his head years prior at the senate hearings.

This will be Biden’s third presidential run. His first run in 1988 was also plagued with controversy. He was accused of plagiarizing in law school and in campaign speeches at the time. His run in 2008 failed after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, placing fifth with less than one percentage point, according to CNN.

It will be interesting to see how he does in the upcoming 2020 elections.

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