News & Politics

Pelosi on Biden Allegations: He Should 'Join the Straight-Arm Club With Me'

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said former Vice President Joe Biden’s response to two women alleging that he made them uncomfortable “was not an apology.”

Amy Lappos and Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state assemblywoman, have come forward accusing Biden of acting inappropriately toward them.

Pelosi said the allegations against Biden, a potential Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, are “not disqualifying” but urged him to join the “straight-arm club” with her.

“I don’t think it’s disqualifying because I think disqualifying is with what your intention is. I do think this about communication in general beyond this — I’m a member of the straight-arm club. I’m a straight-armer. I just pretend you have a cold and I have a cold. But I think that it’s important for the vice president and others to understand is it isn’t what you intended, it is how it was received and that’s generally about communication in general. If people don’t think they are being communicated with, even in your marriage, if your spouse doesn’t think you’re communicating, you ain’t communicating, even if you think ‘but I did this and I did that’ so it is how it is received,” Pelosi said on Tuesday during a Politico Live event.

“So to say, ‘I’m sorry that you were offended’ is not an apology. ‘I’m sorry I invaded your space’ but not ‘I’m sorry you were offended’ because what is that? That’s not accepting the fact that people think differently about communication whether it’s a handshake or a hug. As you said, I’ve known Joe Biden a long time. My grandchildren love Joe Biden. He’s an affectionate person to children, to senior citizens, to everyone, that’s just the way he is but that’s just not the way — join the straight-arm club with me if you will,” she added.

Pelosi recalled her grandchildren saying “Open Biden” instead of “Open Sesame” when they played games “because he was just so lovely to them and paid attention to them but he has to understand in the world we’re in now that people’s space is important to them and what’s important is how they receive it, not necessarily how you intended it.”

During the event, Pelosi said she rates House Democrats’ job performance an A+ so far in the current session of Congress.