Lucy Flores, who has said she was kissed without her consent in 2014 by former Vice President Joe Biden, said she wants an apology from Biden, who on Sunday issued a statement that did not include one.
“I want him to change his behavior. And I want him to acknowledge that it was wrong,” Flores said on the CNN show “State of the Union.”
Flores noted during the interview that her concerns about Biden are both personal and political. She called Biden’s documented behavior with women “completely inappropriate,” referencing multiple reports of Biden touching and kissing women at various public events.
“Part of the reason why I decided to finally say something is because those behaviors were not being taken very seriously,” she said, adding, “I just can’t imagine that there was never a situation where someone said to him, ‘Mr. Vice President, you probably should stop doing that.'”
“And this is something that we should consider when we’re talking about the background of a person who is considering running for president,” Flores said.
Flores wrote in her initial article accusing Biden of kissing her while they were at a Nevada political event in 2014 that she came forward because Biden is expected to seek the White House.
“For me, it’s disqualifying. I think it’s up to everybody else to make that decision,” she said.
In her comments written in The Cut, she said after smelling her hair, Biden “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.”
She said that the incident stunned her.
“You don’t expect that kind of intimacy from someone so powerful and someone who you just have no relationship whatsoever to touch you and to feel you and to be so close to you in that way. So I frankly just didn’t even know how to react. I was just shocked. I felt powerless. I felt like I couldn’t move. I just didn’t even know how to process it,” she said.
During her Sunday comments, Flores said the issue is bigger than Biden.
“I want this to be a bigger discussion about how there is no accountability structure within our political space, either for instances in which women feel that there was inappropriate behavior or more serious instances and allegations of sexual assault, et cetera. We are not protected in politics,” she said.
Biden had issued a statement Friday saying that to the best of his recollection, and that of his staff, he could not recall the incident Flores described in the way in which she described it.
When that failed to calm the waters, a fuller statement emerged two days later.
“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,” the statement said.
“I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear. But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention. And I will,” the statement added.
The statement closed with a promise, but no apology.
“I will also remain the strongest advocate I can be for the rights of women. I will fight to build on the work I’ve done in my career to end violence against women and ensure women are treated with the equality they deserve. I will continue to surround myself with trusted women advisers who challenge me to see different perspectives than my own. And I will continue to speak out on these vitally-important issues where there is much more progress to be made and crucial fights that must be waged and won,” the statement said.
With Biden at the top of most polls sampling Democrats’ preferences in the 2020 presidential election, several of those trailing Biden indicated over the weekend that they support his accuser, according to USA Today.
— Lucy Flores (@LucyFlores) March 30, 2019
“I have no reason not to believe Lucy,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent who comes second to Biden in most polls, said. Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro also said they believed Flores.
Henry R. Munoz III, the organizer of the 2014 rally at which Flores said she was kissed by Biden, said Biden and Flores did not appear to have any time together during the event except for when they were briefly off-stage “surrounded by security, medical and production staff.’’
New: Henry Munoz, the Co-Founder of Latino Victory Project, who organized the event with Lucy Flores and Joe Biden, questions Flores’ account, says he believes the two were never alone together. pic.twitter.com/vGa4nyyk2t
— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) March 31, 2019
Munoz said he and his organization “do not believe that circumstances support allegations that such an event took place,” The New York Times reported.
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