A favorite for the 2020 race among Democratic Party voters, former Vice President Joe Biden, shrugged off accusations of “inappropriate” behavior leveled at him by fellow Democrat Lucy Flores.
Biden and his staff never had “an inkling” that Flores felt “uncomfortable” around him, “nor do they recall what she describes,” the former VP’s spokesperson, Bill Russo, said on Friday.
A Democratic politician from Nevada, Flores had earlier alleged that Biden acted “blatantly inappropriate” when the two met in 2014. Flores was running for state lieutenant governor at the time, and the then-vice president arrived to support her at a public event. Biden approached from behind and “proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head,” the woman wrote in an essay, published in the Cut, a subsidiary of New York magazine. She added that the alleged “awkward kiss” made her feel “embarrassed” and “shocked.”
In her piece, Flores provided links to several previous media reports about Biden being ‘too handsy’ with women. Pictures circulating in the press over the years show the politician hugging different women by the waist, placing his hands on their shoulders, as well as kissing their cheeks and foreheads.
The allegations come as Biden is reportedly deciding whether to jump in the 2020 presidential race. Although the veteran politician didn’t announce his bid, he is widely seen as a frontrunner among fellow Democrats. A recent poll by Quinnipiac University had him leading, with 29 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters saying they would vote for him in 2020.
In that poll, Biden was followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (19 percent) who kicked off his campaign in February. Biden’s accuser, Lucy Flores, used to sit on the board of the pro-Sanders nonprofit Our Revolution, which she co-founded. She quit the group last year.
Public allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct have surged since the inception of the #MeToo movement, a campaign, led mostly by women, to call out influential men in politics, media and the entertainment industry. While receiving praise, the movement also led to fervent public debates and criticism.
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