Biden Charms Photographers, Frightens Children at Final Swearing-In as VP

Biden joked around with Congress members and their families

Seven new members of the U.S. Senate joined incumbents in taking the oath of office administered by Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday. The Senate will be controlled 52-48 by the GOP and includes two new Republicans and five new Democrats.

In Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony, Biden had a final opportunity to showcase his bipartisan charm as he shook hands and posed for photos with newly elected and re-elected members of Congress. Biden joked around with Congress members and their families, telling Sen. Pat Toomey that he hopes Toomey has “big dogs” to protect his daughter and making a crack about selfies while posing for a photographer.

Biden has been recognized for his charm throughout his two terms as vice president, though some have questioned whether his friendly gestures are always appropriate. Photographs and video from his previous swearing-in ceremonies, and other appearances, show Biden’s tendency to put his hands on people — on their arms, on the sides of their faces, on their shoulders from behind. He also appears to be fond of kissing. It’s not clear how comfortable the other people are in these situations, and it’s not clear how aware Biden is of their levels of comfort.

During the ceremony on Tuesday, however, some — at least one baby and one toddler — rebuffed Biden’s affectionate advances. 

And in other awkward interactions between the federal government and kids, the child of a House representative confused House Speaker Paul Ryan by dabbing while posing for a group photo.

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