- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 6, 2019

HBO host Bill Maher downplayed allegations mounted recently against former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday by calling the presumptive White House hopeful’s accusers “a little nitpicky.”

The liberal comic and “Real Time” host joked about the allegations involving Mr. Biden during a live broadcast of his show in light of several women recently accusing President Trump’s potential challenger of unwanted touching.

“I mean, of course no one likes to be touched unwantingly, and women get a lot more of that than men, but the first person who brought this up said he made her feel ‘gross and uneasy.’ You know what makes me feel ‘gross and uneasy’? A second Trump term,” said Mr. Maher.

“He’s not Harvey Weinstein or R. Kelly. He’s more like the TSA,” Mr. Maher continued, contrasting Mr. Biden with celebrities facing significantly more serious allegations and comparing his conduct instead with a Transportation Security Administration pat-down.

Mr. Biden acknowledged the allegations this week and promised to be more “mindful and respectful.”

“Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying,” Mr. Biden said Wednesday.

Mr. Biden, 76, represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate for more than 25 years prior to serving as vice president for two terms under former President Barack Obama. He is expected to announce in the coming weeks whether he will join the crowded pool of Democrats seeking to compete against Mr. Trump in 2020 amid speculation that has swirled ever since he sat out the last White House race.

“He came very close, this close, to saying he was about to run, but we still don’t know if that’s true. We do know it’s true that his hands have been part of an exploratory committee for decades,” Mr. Maher joked Friday.

Mr. Weinstein, a Hollywood mogul who co-founder of the Miramax and Weinstein Company film studios, was charged last year with multiple sex crimes including rape after several actresses came forward with years of allegations; Robert Sylvester Kelly, or R. Kelly, a Grammy Award-winning singer, was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse in February, meanwhile.

Both celebrities have pleaded not guilty and are currently free on bail.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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