The Jury Talks Back

3/29/2019

Former Lawmaker Accuses Joe Biden Of Kissing Her Without Consent

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 4:49 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Hoo-boy. For years I’ve railed about Joe Biden’s creepy handsiness when it comes to women other than his wife. While I’m not the least bit surprised that a former politician has accused Biden of kissing her on the campaign trail in 2014, I am surprised that she is publicly speaking out about it and not giving him cover for his bad behavior like powerful Democrats have done for years. And if everyday Americans have noticed the former vice-president’s incessant handsiness with women, then you know that everyone from President Obama to Nancy Pelosi to Hillary Clinton to Loretta Lynch and everyone else who has worked with Biden, also knew. But to my knowledge, no one has come forward to make a direct and public complaint. Until now.

From Lucy Flores writing in The Cut:

…when my campaign heard from Vice-President Joe Biden’s office that he was looking to help me and other Democrats in the state, I was grateful and flattered. His team offered to bring him to a campaign rally in an effort to help boost voter turnout. We set the date for November 1, just three days before election day.I found my way to the holding room for the speakers, where everyone was chatting, taking photos, and getting ready to speak to the hundreds of voters in the audience. Just before the speeches, we were ushered to the side of the stage where we were lined up by order of introduction. As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. “Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?”

I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, “I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. [Ed. Seriously? Your concern was that you hadn’t washed your hair and it didn’t smell pretty for the veep? Oh. Come. On.] 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.

By then, as a young Latina in politics, I had gotten used to feeling like an outsider in rooms dominated by white men. But I had never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before. Biden was the second-most powerful man in the country and, arguably, one of the most powerful men in the world. He was there to promote me as the right person for the lieutenant governor job. Instead, he made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused. The vice-president of the United States of America had just touched me in an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners — and I felt powerless to do anything about it.

Our strange interaction happened during a pivotal moment in my political career. I’d spent months raising money, talking to voters, and securing endorsements. Biden came to Nevada to speak to my leadership and my potential to be second-in-command — an important role he knew firsthand. But he stopped treating me like a peer the moment he touched me. Even if his behavior wasn’t violent or sexual, it was demeaning and disrespectful. I wasn’t attending the rally as his mentee or even his friend; I was there as the most qualified person for the job.

Flores offers these parting thoughts:

I’m not suggesting that Biden broke any laws, but the transgressions that society deems minor (or doesn’t even see as transgressions) often feel considerable to the person on the receiving end. That imbalance of power and attention is the whole point — and the whole problem.

The timing of Flores’s revealing story is interesting given that its publication comes in the midst of Biden teasing-out and test-running a possible announcement for his candidacy in 2020. Not only is he being coy about running, but he also appears to be gauging every possible reaction to an announcement and making preemptive strikes accordingly (possibly asking Stacy Abrams a place on his ticket and promising to only serve for one term).

Flores explains why she is coming forward with her accusations now:

For years I feared my experience would be dismissed. Biden will be Biden. Boys will be boys. I worried about the doubts, the threats, the insults, and the minimization. “It’s not that big of a deal. He touched her, so what?” The immediate passing of judgement and the questioning of motives. “Why now? Why so long after? She just wants attention.” Or: “It’s politically motivated.” I would be lying if I said I didn’t carefully consider all of this before deciding to speak. But hearing Biden’s potential candidacy for president discussed without much talk about his troubling past as it relates to women became too much to keep bottled up any longer.

It would be completely logical to assume that any forthcoming public accusation would indeed be dismissed, given that this has been the standard response by Democrats for years when it came to Biden and his inappropriate behavior with women. Ironically, Flores’s own party!

Bill Russo, a spokesman for Biden, responded to the accusation made by Flores:

“Vice President Biden was pleased to support Lucy Flores’s candidacy for lieutenant governor of Nevada in 2014 and to speak on her behalf at a well-attended public event.

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.

As of yesterday, before this story broke, Biden held a comfortable lead over the other leading Dem candidates. Mind you, this is without even making an official announcement:

Former Vice President Joe Biden is out front in a poll by Quinnipiac University out Thursday, with 29% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters saying they’ll vote for him in the 2020 primary if he runs.

He is followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (19%), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (12%), and Sen. Kamala Harris (8%), according to the Quinnipiac poll.

Oh, and I wanted to post this photo (via The Cut) of Biden standing between Lucy Flores and actress Eva Longoria at the event where the alleged kiss took place because it’s a perfect example of a question answering itself: Why would Biden have his hand up at the top of Longoria’s waist where he might accidentally feel the side of her breast?

Untitled

–Dana

12 Comments »

  1. It is hard to evaluate if stories like this impact voters. It would have been disqualifying in the past, but who knows now?

    Comment by DRJ — 3/30/2019 @ 6:29 am

  2. What’s funny is, one would think that because of #MeToo a story like this this would definitely impact a politican’s chances. However, given the longevity of Biden’s public behavior while an elected official, it doesn’t seem likely it will make that much of a difference on the surface. But given that the accuser is not only female but a minority, and that this comes on the heels of Stacy Abrams saying no thanks to being exploited by Biden, I think it will be Biden himself who says no to entering the race. He’s a weasel, but he’s not a stupid one and he doesn’t want to see the last days of his public life to be caught up in a big negative mess.

    Comment by Dana — 3/30/2019 @ 8:56 am

  3. At the end of the day though, it is the DNC that wants him gone. I suspect too that the young, newly elected progressive wing are also going to make a lot of noise about this old white guy behaving inappropriately with a minority female, if push comes to shove.

    Comment by Dana — 3/30/2019 @ 8:59 am

  4. He has no shame or he wouldn’t act like this, so I think he will run but he may not win. This looks like the Democrats might have a primary like the GOP had in 2016 where anything can happen.

    Comment by DRJ — 3/30/2019 @ 11:12 am

  5. Biden, like Clinton, has a well known past of doing these sorts of things, but his party hasn’t care and neither have Democratic voters. So, why should he be expected to change his behavior? His backers are already attacking Flores for being a Bernie supporter and calling her out on social media. Another shocker from the left.

    Comment by Sean — 3/30/2019 @ 6:17 pm

  6. I don’t know that I agree, Sean. Of course his behavior won’t change, but what may have changed – and what he has likely not counted on because old school – is that the hard left wing of the party isn’t afraid to call out anyone for this sort of stuff.

    We’ll see if more notable Dems publicly state their support for Flores and her account of the incident.

    Comment by Dana — 3/30/2019 @ 6:58 pm

  7. I have to wonder about this. Biden has the potential to narrow down the Dem field, but what if someone prefers that the Dem field remain large and divided. Think Jeb Bush’s strategy (with RNC collusion) in 2016; win the nomination via having a large field – that makes a win with, say, 25% support quite feasible.

    Who kept Biden out of the race in 2016? Reportedly, Hillary Clinton – who had the DNC as a lap dog.

    So now, we see a very large Dem field, and the prospective frontrunner hobbled a bit. I suspect more and more will drip out about Biden.

    This could set the stage for a big name late entry into the race, similar to what happened in 2016; a late entry in June 2015. Donald Trump.

    So who do I think is behind this kneecapping of Biden, and is setting the stage for a late entry? Hillary Clinton.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 3/30/2019 @ 7:38 pm

  8. The powerbrokers in the DNC did everything they could to help Obama beat Hillary (so he was the nominee), and then later to make sure Hillary won. Will they do the same for Biden? I don’t know if they want to or if they even have the power anymore.

    Comment by DRJ — 3/30/2019 @ 7:40 pm

  9. Very interesting, CJ. Very Clintonian.

    Comment by DRJ — 3/30/2019 @ 7:42 pm

  10. It strikes me as something they might do but terrible for the Democrats. She seems like the worst person they could pick to run against Trump.

    Comment by DRJ — 3/30/2019 @ 7:43 pm

  11. I agree Dana, my point is that those on the left who act shocked by this revelation are either young and naive or partisan hacks that have excused or willfully ignore his past behavior in the name of tribal politics. It appears that the Democrat’s hypocrisy knows no bounds; another “revelation” short of surprises.

    Comment by Sean — 3/31/2019 @ 7:43 am

  12. The argument I’ve seen *for* Biden is that he has a better chance than most of the Democrats to appeal to working class white men in PA, MI, and WI, which is something the Democrats desperately need to do if they’re going to win in 2020.

    That said, he’s not going to excite the young progressives in the party, who will look at (for example) his position on bussing in the 70s and recoil in horror, not understanding the politics of the age and judging the politics of that age by the standards of today.

    There are scenarios in which that won’t matter — in a crowded field in which the young progressives split their vote, Biden might still be the top candidate going into the convention.

    I won’t vote for him in the primary because of age.

    Comment by aphrael — 3/31/2019 @ 11:25 am

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