Joe Biden has not yet announced he is running for the Democratic nomination in 2020 — he’s reportedly put off such an announcement as of now.
Meanwhile, former Nevada State Assemblywoman Lucy Flores (shown above right), who earlier went public with her complaints that Biden hugged her and kissed her hair from behind just as she was about to make a speech during a campaign event in 2014, is not staying quiet.
She would like people to know her complaint is serious — and that “Joe being Joe” cannot be waved away.
She joined Fox News Channel’s Shannon Bream on “Fox News @ Night” on Monday night to share her concerns.
“You say there’s a gray area,” Bream said to her — something between “serial hugging” and something else that “has gotten lost in the mix.”
“Absolutely,” said Flores. “The basis of the behavior that I talked about was something much more serious than just a hug. I mean, that’s where the conversation devolved into, but that’s not where it started. We talked about the fact I have no previous relationship with the vice president, that [his actions occurred] moments before a high-profile event where I was supposed to speak to hundreds of people. It was unexpected.”
“He was behind me,” she added. “He held onto my shoulders. He got close to my body from behind, smelled my hair, kissed my head, all moments before I was supposed to do this event. And that is not a hug. That is just unprofessional, inappropriate behavior no matter who does it. But certainly from — at the time — the second most powerful man in the country. And that conversation, I think, really got lost.”
“My bigger point,” she also said, “that I was trying to make [is that this] just isn’t inappropriate behavior by the vice president of the United States. This is inappropriate behavior no matter who does it.”
In other words, Biden’s actions represent something that was less than sexual assault but but than just inappropriate behavior — and for him, the unwanted, unexpected touching and hugging and caressing has been part of his public profile for quite some time.
Flores ran for lieutenant governor during the time Biden’s actions occurred. Amy Lappos, a former congressional aide to Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), also accused Biden of unwanted touching. And other women came forward as well about Biden. Caitlyn Caruso, 22, and D. J. Hill, 59, shared their experiences with The New York Times recently. Caruso claimed Biden rested his hand on her thigh during an event that addressed sexual assault, of all things, at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Caruso was 19 at the time. She said she squirmed in her seat to show her discomfort and that Biden also hugged her “just a little bit too long.”
The alleged interaction, she said, was uncomfortable for her partly because she had just talked about her own sexual assault — and she’d expected the former vice president to be more cognizant of physical boundaries with others.
Flores shared other thoughts with Bream of Fox News on Monday night. “Really, the biggest reason why I decided to come out and actually say something was because this was a big part of Vice President Biden’s behavior as far as his history is concerned. This isn’t the first time that I pointed out this inappropriate behavior. There’s been pictures. There have been articles written. There are videos. So this was something that was very well-known but that wasn’t taken, in my opinion, seriously at all. In fact, oftentimes it was made fun of and people joked around. They said, ‘Oh, that’s Biden being Biden and —”
“And,” Bream interjected, “he made a joke himself a couple of days later.”
“Exactly, which was so incredibly disrespectful and frankly, to me, demonstrated that the words that he said that he was going to take this very seriously, that he was going to listen, and he was going to learn, to me, indicated he did not mean that at all, if literally the next day he was joking about it.”
“We have gotten to this point now where women can speak out and they can say, ‘You know what? No.'”
She added, “This really needs to be an expansion of this conversation about consent, about ‘this is my body, my space. You don’t get to come into it and you don’t get to touch me unless I give you permission,’ or unless, you know, it’s social touching.”
“I’m certainly not out there trying to say, ‘Oh, we can’t give friendly hugs anymore, and we can’t, you know, touch one another when we’re taking pictures’ — of course we can. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We are talking about the fact that as women, we have had to endure this kind of inappropriate behavior on the behalf of powerful men for certainly as long as I have been alive, but, you know, forever. And we have gotten to this point now where women can speak out and they can say, ‘You know what? No. Maybe you can get away with it before because we didn’t feel like we could say something’ — but now we can, and we can call it for what it is.”
Flores also said in no uncertain terms that she could not support Biden as a candidate.
“I have said many times that in the primary, I will not be voting for him. I will not support him.”