Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro blasted former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday for poking fun at the controversy surrounding allegations that he touched women inappropriately. The remarks came during Castro's appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
During their conversation, Maher said he disagreed with critics who were upset that Biden had joked about his "hands-on" behavior during a public appearance earlier Friday in Washington.
On Friday morning, Biden gave remarks at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ conference, where he joked twice that he was given permission to touch others he interacted with onstage, including a young boy.
“Some people today were saying, ‘He joked about it. He shouldn’t joke about it.’ I think he should joke about it,” Maher said. “I don’t think it’s that big a deal.”
“I disagree,” Castro responded. “For forever, we have told women basically, essentially, ‘Just be quiet about stuff like this.’”
“For forever, we have told women basically, essentially, ‘Just be quiet about stuff like this.’”
“Not stuff like this!” Maher shot back. “It’s not sexual harassment. It’s not the same as sexual harassment. He did it to men, too, and children. He’s a toucher.”
Castro, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama, conceded that there are “gradations” of transgressive behavior, then doubled down on how women have long had to “swallow” their discomfort at the workplace and have historically “not be taken seriously” when raising concerns.
“I understand that the vice president didn’t intend to make people uncomfortable," Castro said. "At the same time, I think as men, it’s incumbent on us to also understand that it’s not just your intention, it’s also how your actions are making somebody feel. They’re not making up those feelings."
The former San Antonio mayor then spoke bluntly about Biden making light of his misconduct claims.
“I think it’s bulls--- to say that people can get away with laughing it off,” Castro said, seeming to startle Maher with the profane term.