A spokesperson for former Vice President Joe Biden responded to sexual harassment allegations made against Biden on Friday by former Nevada Democrat state Sen. Lucy Flores, who claimed that Biden acted “blatantly inappropriate” toward her at a 2014 political rally.
Flores, a former member of Bernie Sanders’ political group Our Revolution, alleged in a piece that she wrote that Biden made her “feel uneasy, gross, and confused.”
“I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified,” Flores said. “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.”
Biden spokesman Bill Russo responded to the allegations in a statement:
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.
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.
“Imagine you’re at work and a male colleague who you have no personal relationship with approaches you from behind, smells your hair, and kisses you on the head,” Flores continued. “Now imagine it’s the CEO of the company. If Biden and I worked together in a traditional office, I would have complained to the HR department, but on the campaign trail, there’s no clear path for what to do when a powerful man crosses the line.”
The timing of the allegation could not come at a worse time for Biden as he is thought to be nearing a decision to enter the 2020 presidential race and is currently the frontrunner despite not having yet announced.
“Former Vice President Joe Biden is out front in a poll by Quinnipiac University out Thursday, with 29% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters saying they’ll vote for him in the 2020 primary if he runs,” CNN reported on Thursday.
“Biden is contemplating a campaign for the White House in 2020, and there is speculation that he is close to entering the presidential field. He is followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (19%), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (12%), and Sen. Kamala Harris (8%), according to the Quinnipiac poll.”
Recently discussing Anita Hill, who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings in 1991, Joe Biden said: “No one’s entitled to hold any public office. They have to make their case. The presumption should be if the woman comes forward she’s likely telling the truth.”