Former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores responded Sunday to Joe Biden’s defense of his behavior around women, arguing that she is not the first person the vice president has acted inappropriately toward.
In an op-ed published Friday, Flores accused Biden of touching and kissing the back of her head without her consent in 2014. Just before she was set to appear on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning, the former vice president released a statement saying that throughout his career, “not once ― never ― did I believe I acted inappropriately.”
“I’m glad that he’s clarifying his intentions,” Flores told host Jake Tapper. “Frankly, my point was never about his intentions, and they shouldn’t be about his intentions. It should be about the women on the receiving end of that behavior, and this isn’t the first time and it wasn’t the only incident where he was acting inappropriately with women.”
Flores claimed Biden came up behind her, placed his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head at a 2014 Democratic campaign event in her state.
Biden has a documented history of close contact with women, which is evident in photos showing him touching shoulders and, in one infamous instance in 2013, a White House reporter’s waist.
Flores said part of her motivation to go public with her experience was because Biden’s “behaviors were not being taken very seriously.”
“I just can’t imagine that there was never a situation where someone said to him ― ‘Mr. Vice President, you probably should stop doing that. You should probably stop touching women in that way. You should probably keep your hands to yourself.’”
Flores, who attended a rally for 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke and supported Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential bid, has received support for her story from Sanders and additional Democratic candidates including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.
Biden’s full statement does not directly deny Flores’ allegations but says he will pay attention to women who speak out.