By Viktoria Ristanovic and James Wright
Nation & World Editor and Staff Writer
On March 31, former Vice President Joe Biden released a statement defending himself and denying inappropriate allegations made by Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state assemblywoman, according to The New York Times.
Flores had published a personal essay on March 29 describing the 76-year-old former vice president engaging in inappropriate contact, including kissing her on the head five years ago during a Democratic campaign rally.
The New York Times reported that Flores’ story has attracted negative attention to Biden’s “interactions with women over his long career in national politics,” which has caused bad publicity for his anticipated announcement as to whether he will run for president in 2020.
Flores was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014 when she met Biden. In her essay, she wrote how Biden had agreed to attend a rally to help her campaign.
“At first, she wrote, she felt ‘grateful and flattered.’ But as she was about to step on stage, she ‘felt two hands on my shoulders’ and ‘froze.’ Then, she said, Mr. Biden leaned in and ‘inhaled my hair,’ and ‘proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head,’” according to The New York Times.
According to CNN, after giving a speech at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Construction Conference in Washington, D.C., Biden expressed his apologies for not comprehending how his behavior could have been interpreted. However, he did not apologize for his intentions and used humor when referring to the allegations.
“‘I am not sorry for anything that I have ever done –– I’ve never been disrespectful, intentionally, to a man or a woman,’” CNN reported.
Although at least six other women have come forward to accuse Biden, several former female staff members and Democrats have jumped to his defense, according to USA Today. Stacey Abrams, who nearly won Georgia’s race for governor in 2018, was one of them.
“‘The responsibility of leaders is to not be perfect but to be accountable, to say, ‘I’ve made a mistake. I understand it and here’s what I’m going to do to reform as I move forward,’ and I think we see Joe Biden doing that,’” Abrams stated, according to USA Today.
Biden acknowledged the allegations in a video posted on Twitter on April 3, but he first addressed the public about it on Friday, April 5, according to CNN.
“‘I’ve never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic,’ Biden said. ‘I’ve always thought it about connecting with people, as I said, shaking hands, hands on the shoulder, a hug, encouragement, and now, it’s all about taking selfies together. You know, social norms have begun to change, they’ve shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset, and I get it, I get it.’”