Nevada Democrat says Biden behaved inappropriately with her
Lucy Flores, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Nevada in 2014, alleged then-Vice President Joe Biden kissed the back of her head during a campaign event that year in the state. In an article published Friday in The Cut, Flores wrote that Biden touched her shoulders before kissing the back of her head, describing the alleged incident as “demeaning and disrespectful.”
According to Flores, the event occurred before she made a speech at a rally featuring Biden in Las Vegas.
“I found my way to the holding room for the speakers, where everyone was chatting, taking photos, and getting ready to speak to the hundreds of voters in the audience,” Flores wrote. “Just before the speeches, we were ushered to the side of the stage, where we were lined up by order of introduction. As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. ‘Why is the Vice President of the United States touching me?'”
She says Biden then leaned in and “inhaled her hair” before kissing her.
“He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused…I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience.”
Biden, who has been reportedly gearing up in recent weeks for a possible presidential run, leads many early polls for the Democratic presidential nomination. In 2016, Flores worked as a surrogate for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has already jumped into the Democratic race.
Responding to a Twitter user who pointed out her 2016 support for Sanders, Flores tweeted Friday: “To set the record straight, I haven’t endorsed any presidential candidate including Sanders. But even if I had endorsed someone, that doesn’t erase the multiple pictures, articles & the well known “open secret” abt Biden’s inappropriate behavior. This shld been addressed long ago.”
In a statement, a spokesman for Biden said that the vice president did not recall the alleged incident. “Vice President Biden was pleased to support Lucy Flores’s candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of Nevada in 2014 and to speak on her behalf at a well-attended public event,” Biden spokesman Bill Russo said.
“Neither then, nor in the years since, did he or the staff with him at the time have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes. But Vice President Biden believes that Ms. Flores has every right to share her own recollection and reflections, and that it is a change for better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so. He respects Ms. Flores as a strong and independent voice in our politics and wishes her only the best.”
Flores told The Daily Beast Friday night that she believes Biden is “probably telling the truth” by not remembering the alleged incident.
“He probably doesn’t remember the interaction,” Flores said. “I would argue that he is so used to behaving in that way that it is no big deal.”
Flores told The Daily Beast she had a message for Biden: “I would say I hope you recognize how your behavior made women feel.”
In The Cut, Flores wrote that she and Biden worked together in a “traditional office,” she would have reported her allegations to human resources. “[B]ut on the campaign trail, there’s no clear path for what to do when a powerful man crosses the line. In politics, you shrug it off, smile for the cameras, and get back to the task of trying to win your race.”
Flores also wrote that she “had never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before.”
“[Biden] was there to promote me as the right person for the lieutenant governor job,” she wrote. “Instead, he made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused. The vice-president of the United States of America had just touched me in an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners — and I felt powerless to do anything about it.”