A video of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden hugging his wife onstage at a rally in Philadelphia on Saturday has spread across social media, dividing opinions online, with some accusing the former vice president of inappropriate behavior.
In the video, Biden can be seen greeting his wife, Jill Biden, onstage with a hug at the Saturday rally. At one point, the former vice president appears to rest his hands just above his wife's waist, before she can be seen appearing to remove them.
Taking notice of the seconds-long exchange, social media users, including right-wing critics, took to Twitter to accuse Biden of "creepy" behavior, an accusation that follows a string of claims accusing the 2020 contender of previous misconduct.
"Ewww! Creepy Joe strikes again! Please watch this!" wrote Kaya Jones, a musician and actress who has been vocal in her support for Donald Trump, using a nickname that the president has used for Biden in the wake of the allegations against him.
Since the video started spreading on social media on Sunday, it has been viewed at least 226,000 times as of early Monday morning.
Andrew Pollack, who has emerged as a prominent school-safety activist after his 18-year-old daughter, Meadow Pollack, was killed in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting on February 14, 2018, was also critical of the incident. He shared the video on Twitter with a caption that said: "Watch Jill Biden remove Creepy Joe's hands in this video. Even she is uncomfortable with her husband's uncontrollable touching problem. What a creep!"
Others dismissed claims of inappropriate behavior. Susan Demas, editor-in-chief and columnist at nonprofit politics and policy news website Michigan Advance, lamented that "100,000 people have watched a Twitter video of Joe Biden hugging his wife because some rando Trumper pretended it was inappropriate. 2020 is gonna suuuuck."
Miranda Yaver, a political science professor at Tufts University in Massachusetts, questioned why more people weren't talking about "Trump's creepiness" instead of "Joe Biden with his wife."
"Let's talk about Trump's creepiness: Boasted about grabbing women's vaginas [without] consent.... Said if Ivanka weren't his daughter, he'd be dating her.... Walked into teen pageant dressing rooms.... Told a 14 year-old girl he'd be dating her soon," Yaver said.
In recent weeks, at least seven women have publicly accused Biden of inappropriate conduct, including former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, who said Biden made her feel "uneasy, gross and confused" after he approached her from behind at a campaign event in 2014 and kissed the back of her head.
Flores detailed the incident in an essay published on The Cut, in which she alleged that Biden had smelled her hair before giving her a "big slow kiss" on the back of her head. "I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me," she said.
Biden has said he "never" believed that he "acted inappropriately" in any of his exchanges on the campaign trail and in public life.
"In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort," Biden said in a statement. "And not once—never—did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention."
Newsweek has contacted Biden's campaign team for comment.