Three more women came forward Wednesday with accounts of uncomfortable physical encounters with Democrat Joe Biden, bringing the total number of women who’ve accused the former vice president of unwanted touching to seven.
Kohnert-Yount said she was introduced to Biden in 2013 when she was a White House intern. Biden “put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead while he talked to me,” Kohnert-Yount recalled of the encounter, adding that the then-vice president had called her a “pretty girl.”
Kohnert-Yount said she believes Biden’s intentions had been good and that she did “not consider my experience to have been sexual assault or harassment.”
“But,” she noted, “it was the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace.”
Karasek said she met Biden after the Oscars in 2016. She’d been part of a group of sexual assault victims who appeared onstage with Lady Gaga at the event. Biden, who had introduced the singer’s performance, pressed his forehead to Karasek’s as she shared a story about a young sexual assault survivor who’d died by suicide ― an intimate moment that was captured in a widely shared photograph. Karasek told the Post that, although she was appreciative of Biden’s support, the close contact had made her feel uncomfortable.
Coll described a similarly awkward encounter. As a young Democratic staffer in 2008, she was introduced to Biden, who she said “leaned in, squeezed her shoulders and delivered a compliment about her smile, holding her ‘for a beat too long.’”
The three women’s stories were published after Biden released a video addressing the earlier allegations of unwanted touching. He vowed to be “much more mindful” about respecting the personal space of others, though he did not apologize for his behavior. Biden has been considering a run for the presidency.
Reacting to Biden’s video, Karasek told the Post that the former senator from Delaware “still didn’t take ownership in the way that he needs to.” Coll said the video revealed Biden’s “continued lack of understanding about why these stories are being told and their relevance in the #MeToo era.”
Last week, former Nevada state lawmaker Lucy Flores became the first woman to publicly accuse Biden of inappropriate touching. Amy Lappos, a former congressional aide; writer D.J. Hill; and Caitlyn Caruso, who met Biden as a college student, later stepped forward with stories of their own.
Some women have spoken up in defense of Biden, including actress and sexual assault survivor Alyssa Milano and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Monday that, although she did not believe the allegations of inappropriate touching disqualified Biden from campaigning for the presidency, he should apologize and “understand [that] in the world we live in now, people’s space is important to them.”