Former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores published an op-ed in New York Magazine’s The Cut on Friday alleging that Joe Biden inappropriately kissed and touched her after he offered to help her with her 2014 campaign.
Flores, who was running for Nevada lieutenant governor at the time, described her encounter with the former vice president as making her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused.” During a Las Vegas campaign rally, she alleges he approached her from behind, put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head.
“I froze. ‘Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?’” she wrote.
She detailed the unwanted encounter with the likely 2020 candidate, which took place right before she was set to go onstage and speak.
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 fuck? 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. 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. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience.”
The way he touched her, she wrote, was in “an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners — and I felt powerless to do anything about it.”
Flores explained that she’s sharing the story now because she feels it’s important information to know about the character of someone running for president ― something Biden is imminently expected to announce he’s doing.
Flores’ story about Biden isn’t an unfamiliar one. Throughout his time in office, photos were captured of Biden “nuzzling the neck of the Defense secretary’s wife; Biden kissing a senator’s wife on the lips; Biden whispering in women’s ears; Biden snuggling female constituents,” she reminded readers.
While Biden built a long record of championing women’s rights while serving as Barack Obama’s vice president, those interactions and his handling of the Anita Hill hearing in 1991 have dogged the presidential hopeful as he gets closer to launching his campaign.
A spokesman for Biden, Bill Russo, said that the former vice president and his staff at the time had no “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,” Russo continued. “He respects Ms. Flores as a strong and independent voice in our politics and wishes her only the best.”