Following last week’s accusations against Joe Biden, alleging he touched women inappropriately, President Donald Trump tweeted out a meme targeting Biden, in response to the public statement he gave about the allegations. The meme is a short doctored video of Biden’s apology, edited to mimic the misconduct of which Biden was accused.
The meme takes a portion of Biden’s statement about his alleged misconduct and superimposes moving images of Biden to make it look like he is doing the actions of which he was accused to himself. In the video, as Biden explains “I shake hands, I hug people, I grab men and women by the shoulders and say ‘You can do this.’ And, uh, whether they’re women, men, young, old, it’s the way I’ve always been. It’s the way I’ve tried to show I care about them and I’m listening,” an image of Biden pops out from the side of the video. Then, two hands are photoshopped holding Biden’s shoulders until, finally, another image of Biden comes up from behind him and kisses him on the back of the head.
The meme was originally created by @CarpeDonktum, who tweeted the 14-second long video Wednesday evening, writing “Noooooooo Joe, NOT DURING THE APOLOGY!” The tweet has 18,000 likes and 8,100 retweets, so it is not surprising that the President or his staff found it.
Late last week, several women, including Lucy Flores and Amy Lappos, came forward to accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of touching them inappropriately. Flores claimed in a piece she published on The Cut, entitled “An Awkward Kiss Changed How I saw Joe Biden,” that in 2014 the then-Vice President came up behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, inhaled her hair, and kissed her on the back of the head. Lappos told the Hartford Courant that she had a similar encounter with Biden, saying “It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head… He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.”
When Biden shared the original (undoctored) video on Twitter on April 3rd, he also wrote “Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it.” In a portion of Biden’s apology video not included in the meme, he says “I get it. I hear what they’re saying. I understand it. And I’ll be much more mindful – that’s my responsibility.” TODAY notes that the video, shot by Biden himself from the comfort of his home, is “deliberately informal,” and also reminds viewers that the women’s allegations addressed inappropriate physical contact, “not a sexual advance.”
When tweeting the meme, Trump simply wrote “WELCOME BACK JOE!” He has not yet elaborated on why he chose to share the video with his 59.5 million followers. In the comments, some commented on the fact that Trump himself has been accused of harassment and sexual misconduct; the Washington Post points out that, though Trump has denied any allegations against him, “more than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.”
This is not the first comment Trump has made about Biden’s recent allegations. During a speech on Tuesday, Trump made references to the accusation, saying that during a conversation with a general, “I said, ‘General, give me a kiss.’ I felt like Joe Biden. But I meant it. Big difference.” The response from the crowd was laughter.