Joe Biden responded on Sunday to claims from Nevada Democratic politician Lucy Flores that he gave her an unwanted kiss, with Biden saying that he did not believe he acted in an inappropriately but vowed to “listen respectfully” to such claims.
Flores had written an essay that was published Friday detailing what she described as an uncomfortable incident in 2014 in which Biden kissed the back of her head. Flores said she was left unsettled and wanted to come forward about the incident. Biden, who has led early 2020 Democratic primary polls but has not officially entered the race, responded in full on Sunday by saying he has frequent shows of affection and does not believe he acted in an inappropriate way.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” Biden said, via USA Today. “And not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
Biden added that he does not view the incident in the same way as Flores did, and said “men should pay attention” to such claims and added that he would.
Biden and Flores met at a 2014 rally when she was running for lieutenant governor in Nevada. In her essay for The Cut, Flores said the rally turned uncomfortable when Biden made what she saw as an unwanted advance.
“I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified,” Flores wrote. “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.”
While Joe Biden went through the early part of the weekend without offering a comment, many other Democrats vying for the party’s nomination have spoken out, calling on Biden to explain the situation in full. Elizabeth Warren spoke out at a rally on Friday, saying that she found the story to be credible and called on Biden to speak out about it.
“I read the op-ed last night, I believe Lucy Flores, and Joe Biden needs to give an answer,” Warren said on Saturday at the Heartland Forum in Iowa, via The Huffington Post.
Two days after a former Nevada candidate accused him of impropriety, Joe Biden issued a carefully worded statement saying he did not believe he ever “acted inappropriately” https://t.co/DxL8NhZXmk— POLITICO (@politico) March 31, 2019
At the time of publication, it was not yet clear what effect the accusation could have on Joe Biden’s chances in the 2020 Democratic primary, as polling had not yet reflected the allegations.