Former US Vice President Joe Biden has, for the first time, responded to a female Nevada activist's Friday allegations that he behaved inappropriately in a 2014 incident.
“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,” he said in a statement on Sunday. Earlier, the only statements made were issued by his spokesman.
Biden promised to remain “the strongest advocate” for the rights of women, vowing that he “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,” he concluded.
In an initial statement, Biden’s spokesman Bill Russo said he does not recall the incident in 2014 when a female activist claimed Biden inappropriately kissed her.
“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 the better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so,” Russo pointed out.
The statement came after Lucy Flores, the former Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Nevada, claimed in an essay for The Cut, a New York magazine publication, that Biden made her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused” during a 2014 campaign rally in Nevada, when he allegedly kissed her on the back of the head.
Flores also claimed that Biden touched her shoulders and smelled her hair when they appeared at the 2014 event together, making her feel uncomfortable.
Twitter users have, meanwhile, remained at loggerheads over the issue, with some arguing that Flores’ accusations are “ridiculous” and “deserve no coverage”.
Biden is being destroyed by his own party to stop him from running. They are doing what Hillary did to Bernie Sanders. Expect more dirt being exposed to nudge him toward not running— Doug Paul (@TheRealDougPaul) 31 марта 2019 г.
@JoeBiden has worked to tear down institutional boundaries to women's rights and opportunities for decades. The "accusation" against him by @LucyFlores does nothing to change my belief in his commitment to feminism and women's empowerment. #Biden2020— Oscar Berry (@USCentrist) 31 марта 2019 г.
Biden doesn’t deserve to be the object of manufactured outrage. You might prefer another Democratic candidate, but don’t destroy an honorable man.— Jon Schwenzer (@UncJonny) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Biden’s accuser sounds ridiculous. How did she know he “kissed” the back of her head? Eyes in the back of her head? Spit in her hair? And he was probably nudging her out of his way. She ruins it for women actually sexually assaulted. This deserves NO coverage.— D Berl (@dberl0909) 1 апреля 2019 г.
That lady sounded like a fool, probably Paid by the gop— Bucman (@cason101) 1 апреля 2019 г.
this new story makes me support him MORE— Thomas Howard (@ThmsHoward) 31 марта 2019 г.
I ate lunch out today with family. The waitress came over to see how we were doing and she put her hand on my shoulder. Was I violated? Harassed or perhaps she feels a connection to others and touching is her style? This claim against Biden makes me sick!— The Twig (@twig_the) 1 апреля 2019 г.
He kissed me on the back of the head in 2014 and I haven't been right since. Geezuz. What happened to us?— Kevin Fitzgerald (@KJF1tz) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Well the problem is what he finds as offers of affection, others find as inappropriate behavior.— Lulu Walcott 🦂 (@LuluWalcott1) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Others, however, lashed out at Biden, especially given the fact that Flores’ allegations come as Biden is considering entering the 2020 US presidential race, a decision that is expected to be announced by the former vice-president later in April.
He's a gross old creep. And he is a 3x loser at presidential bids. Why is he even in the running? There are great candidates to choose from, we don't need his mediocrity.— Well Behaved Woman 👸 (@HarryMayUltd) 31 марта 2019 г.
Joe's time has passed. Need young energy and new blood to lead Democrats into the future.— Chase Robert Pipkins (@CPMr402) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Allegations or not, the simple fact that Joe Biden is in the running shows Democrats haven’t learned anything. We so need a new party.— SO-CALLED CITIZEN (@SOcalled_HANDLE) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Hope he doesn’t run…the time for old school Democrat’s is over. We need real fighters.— David Reed (@DavidIndia12) 31 марта 2019 г.
I sure wouldn't want him putting his hands on my daughters the way he is video documented doing to so many girls. Creepy.— Benjamin Winslett (@ben_winslett) 1 апреля 2019 г.
I think he meant no harm. It’s a generational difference. But he is not the person we need in the presidency now. Thank you for your service, sir.— Terrell (@terrelladeville) 1 апреля 2019 г.