As former Vice President Joe Biden nears what many believe will be his official announcement that he’s running for President of the United States for a third time, he’s found himself mired in a #MeToo scandal originating from members of his own party.
With multiple Democratic presidential candidates now calling for Biden to address the accusations of “inappropriate touching” from former Democratic nominee for Nevada lieutenant governor and Bernie Sanders supporter Lucy Flores, “Creepy Biden” pictues have begun circulating online, again. One of the most infamous of the photos features Stephanie Carter, the wife of former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Like Flores, Carter has now published her own account of the moment, but unlike Flores, says emphatically that it was not a #MeToo moment.
In an account published by The Cut Friday, Flores describes an alleged encounter at a campaign rally in 2014 “that changed how I saw Joe Biden”: “I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, ‘I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual f***? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?’ 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.”
In a post on Medium Sunday, Carter provides her own account of her famous encounter with Biden back in 2015, but says it is a “#MeToo story that wasn’t me.”
“Last night, I received a text from a friend letting me know that picture was once again all over Twitter in connection to Lucy Flores’ personal account of a 2014 encounter with Joe Biden,” writes Carter. “Let me state upfront that I don’t know her, but I absolutely support her right to speak her truth and she should be, like all women, believed. But her story is not mine. The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful. So, as the sole owner of my story, it is high time that I reclaim it — from strangers, Twitter, the pundits and the late-night hosts.”
The incident, she explained, took place when her husband was being sworn-in as Secretary of Defense on February 17, 2015. “Upon our arrival at the Pentagon, I had slipped and fell on some ice — which a few journalists were nice enough to tweet about,” she writes. “Later, we went to the White House for the swearing in and I was feeling self-conscious and tentative (not a normal state for those who know me) about the fall — and perhaps about how much our life might change. As we walked in the room, reporters were staged and a young woman from Huffington Post shouted to me to ask if I was doing all right — I was somewhat thrown (did I not look all right?) but quickly remembered news of my fall on the ice had traveled.”
Biden, she says, was simply attempting to make her feel more at ease: “By the time then-Vice President Biden had arrived, he could sense I was uncharacteristically nervous- and quickly gave me a hug. After the swearing in, as Ash was giving remarks, he leaned in to tell me ‘thank you for letting him do this’ and kept his hands on my shoulders as a means of offering his support. But a still shot taken from a video — misleadingly extracted from what was a longer moment between close friends — sent out in a snarky tweet — came to be the lasting image of that day.” (Read the full post here.)
As The Daily Wire reported over the weekend, the calls from his fellow Democrats to address the accusation have begun to mount. So far, two presidential candidates are saying they believe Flores and demanding that Biden address her accusation, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who told an Iowa crowd Saturday, “I read the op-ed last night … I believe Lucy Flores. And Joe Biden needs to give an answer.” Julian Castro echoed Warren, saying of Flores, “We need to live in a nation where people can hear her truth.”