Vice President Joseph R. Biden has once again raised the eyebrows of social media commentators, who saw his beckoning of Stephanie Carter — the wife of the new defense secretary, Ashton Carter — and subsequent grab of her shoulders and close-eared whisper as little more than America’s “creepy uncle” at work.
Mr. Biden, at the swearing-in ceremony of Mr. Carter, motioned for Mrs. Carter to join him across the room. When she did, he then put both hands on her shoulders and let them linger there for a good 20 seconds, as he leaned in close to whisper in her ear, The Telegraph reported. It’s not known what he whispered.
But shortly after, Mr. Carter reached out and put his own hand on her shoulder and thanked her — his “perfect wife Stephanie,” he said — for her support, The Telegraph reported.
Social media was quick to respond.
“Joe Biden is America’s creepy uncle that always crosses the line,” Alex Medina wrote on Twitter, alongside the photo of Mr. Biden grasping Mrs. Carter’s shoulders, The Telegraph said.
And another, from @BritHume, the former Fox News personality: “People mocking Joe Biden for his creepy nuzzling should understand that Joe Biden cannot be embarrassed.”
Mr. Biden wasn’t finished with the gaffes, yet.
Hours later, at a White House summit on extremism, Mr. Biden referred to attempts by Minneapolis officials to prevent the radicalization of Somali youth and then pointed to his Wilmington, Delaware, hometown and said that it has a “large, very identifiable Somali community,” The Telegraph reported.
And his gaffe, that led the audience to give off what The Telegraph described as uncomfortable laughter: “I might add, if you ever come to the train station, you may notice that I have great relations with them, because an awful lot of them are driving cabs and are friends of mine.”
After the laughter, he dug in: “For real. I’m not being solicitous. I’m being serious,” he said.