On Monday, “Morning Joe” cohost Mika Brzezinski, reacting to a former Nevada State Assemblywoman’s tale of former Vice President Joe Biden inappropriately grabbing her and kissing her on the top of the head, defended Biden’s oft-criticized actions toward women by saying he was just “extremely affectionate, extremely flirtatious in a completely safe way.”
Former Nevada Democrat state assemblywoman Lucy Flores wrote of her encounter with Biden in 2014:
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?” I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. 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 wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. I had never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before … he made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused."
After that story broke, some Democratic presidential candidates criticized Biden; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren snapped, "I read the op-ed last night … I believe Lucy Flores. And Joe Biden needs to give an answer." Julian Castro, who served as Barack Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, commented, "We need to live in a nation where people can hear her truth," adding that Flores should be believed.
Leftist website Vox reported of Biden’s history with women:
Biden’s been caught on camera embracing a female reporter from behind and ripping her above her waist, just below her bust. At a swearing-in ceremony for Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Biden put his hands on the shoulders of Stephanie Carter, Carter’s wife, and then leaned in and whispered into her ear. (He’s whispered into many women’s ears.) He’s also touched women’s faces and necks during other photo ops. Once at a swearing-in ceremony for a U.S. senator, he held the upper arm of the senator’s preteen daughter, leaned down and whispered into her ear, as she became visibly uncomfortable. Then he kissed the side of her forehead, a gesture that made the girl flinch.
On Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough stated, “Mika, what do you think? I know you weren’t incredibly pleased by what you saw this weekend in the attacks on Joe Biden."
Brzezinski responded, “Well, I think this is a very extensive and careful conversation that we need to have … There’s a lot of things I know about Joe Biden– I’ve known him for a long time — he is extremely affectionate, extremely flirtatious in a completely safe way. I am sure that somebody can misconstrue something he’s done. But as much as I can know what’s in anyone’s heart, I don’t think there is bad intent on his part at all. I read the account, and I was like, (laughing) 'Yeah, that’s Joe Biden,' but never thought for a second he meant anything from it except to be nice, to be kind.”
Scarborough, seemingly implying that inappropriate behavior done publicly was somehow different from that being done privately, added, “We’ve seen it, Mika, on television, again, she’s describing a lot; we’ve had clips of him and late-night comics have had clips of him; he is always been very expressive and he’s always been very expressive in public. It’s not like he’s hiding anything.”
Brzezinski asked, “Are we really gonna do this?” She added, “And Democrats, you have to ask yourself: What exactly is the #MeToo line you want to draw because you will live and die by that line. It’s an important line. It’s very important. Don’t mock it.”