Former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 candidate, responded Sunday to allegations of inappropriate conduct toward a female lawmaker that emerged Friday.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. 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 said in a statement Sunday, according to The Associated Press.
Former Democratic Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores accused Biden of sniffing her hair and kissing the back of her head without her consent in 2014. He was campaigning for her at the time. (RELATED: CNN, MSNBC Ignore Inappropriate Kissing Allegations Against Biden)
Flores detailed the alleged experience in “An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden” in New York Magazine on Friday.
“I felt him get closer to me from behind. … 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. There is a Spanish saying, ‘tragame tierra,’ it means, ‘earth, swallow me whole.’ I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me,” she wrote.
The following statement from Biden’s spokesperson was included in the article:
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.
Biden is considered a frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary despite not having formally entered the race. Flores’s accusations could change that.
His critics have accused him of going on an apology tour prior to announcing his campaign. Biden said Tuesday he regretted the way he treated Anita Hill during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.
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