- Charles Mostoller/Reuters
- Lucy Flores, a Democratic politician from Nevada, alleged that former Vice President Joe Biden grabbed her shoulders from behind and kissed the back of her head without her consent during a campaign event in 2014.
- The alleged incident happened while Biden visited Las Vegas to campaign with Flores during her race for lieutenant governor of Nevada.
- Flores made her allegations public in a piece in New York Magazine on Friday, writing that Biden’s actions were “demeaning and disrespectful” and made her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused.”
Lucy Flores, a Democratic politician from Nevada, alleged that former Vice President Joe Biden grasped her shoulders from behind and kissed the back of her head without her consent during a campaign event in 2014.
The alleged incident, which Flores discussed for the first time publicly in a Friday New York Magazine piece, happened while Biden visited Las Vegas to campaign with Flores during her race for lieutenant governor of Nevada.
Flores, who was 35 at the time, wrote that while she was preparing to go onstage at a rally, Biden came up behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair, and kissed the back of her head.
“He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head,” she wrote. “My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused.”
Flores said Biden’s actions made her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused” and that she quickly moved away from him and walked onstage.
“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,” she wrote. “Even if his behavior wasn’t violent or sexual, it was demeaning and disrespectful.”
Flores alleged that Biden has exhibited similar behavior in many other documented interactions with women. She pointed to several photographs of Biden embracing, kissing, and otherwise intimately touching women, some of whom appear uncomfortable.
“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,” she wrote. “That imbalance of power and attention is the whole point – and the whole problem.”
Flores said she discussed the incident with a few of her staffers, but decided there was little she could do to address the incident, so she moved on. Given widespread recent speculation that Biden will announce his 2020 presidential run in the coming weeks, Flores said she felt she had to come forward with her experience.
“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,” she wrote.
In response to the New York Magazine piece, a spokesperson from the Biden campaign released the following statement, which was shared by reporters on Twitter:
“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 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.”