- Former Vice President Joe Biden has come under fire after Lucy Flores wrote an op-ed about a time he allegedly kissed her head and made her feel uncomfortable.
- Democratic presidential candidates have begun to weigh in on the controversy as Biden mulls jumping into the 2020 race.
More Democrats are weighing in on allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden inappropriately kissed the back of a former Nevada state assemblywoman’s head and made her feel uncomfortable in 2014.
While Democrats are calling on Biden to directly address the allegations, they have so far withheld from saying he should not run for president in 2020, an endeavour he is currently considering and mulling over with advisers.
First to address the controversy was Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who said Biden “needs to give an answer” for the accusations made by Flores, who at the time was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Nevada.
Warren said “I believe Lucy Flores,” but stopped short of saying Biden should not run for president, instead leaving that decision up to him.
In addition to Warren, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro chimed in on Biden’s predicament on Saturday, talking to reporters at a campaign stop in Iowa.
“I believe Lucy Flores,” Castro said echoing Warren’s response. “I believe that the vice president put a statement out today and we need to live in a nation where people can hear our truth.”
Regarding whether Biden should have second thoughts about running for president, Castro added, “He’s going to decide whether he’s going to run or not and then the American people – if he does – decide whether they support him or not.”
Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, the first Democrat to jump into the 2020 race, said he was not caught up on the details of the accusations due to his busy schedule, but has “no reason to doubt” Flores’ claims.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders joined the conversation among the Sunday shows on Flores’ story, telling CBS’ Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” that he has “no reason not to believe” Flores and hopes for a culture change around the treatment of women.
“What this speaks to is the need to fundamentally change the culture of this country and to create environments where women feel comfortable and feel safe,” Sanders said. “That’s something we’ve got to do.”
In a similar call for a change in the country’s conversation, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the incident was “disconcerting” but came at an important moment across the country.
“The more important issue to recognise is that we’re at an inflection point,” Hickenlooper said. “Really a moment of transformation of the entire country where women, in many cases for the first time, are having the courage to come forward and speak about things that happened to them that make them intensely uncomfortable.”
Biden spokesman Bill Russo issued a statement on the allegations Friday night, empathizing with Flores’ claims but noting they were never made aware of her feelings until the story came out.
“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,” Russo said. “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.”
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