Lucy Flores, a former member of the Nevada State Assembly who ran for lieutenant governor in 2014, accused Joe Biden of inappropriately kissing her today, in an article at The Cut.
Flores wrote that during a campaign event, Biden allegedly came up behind her, “leaned in” and smelled her hair, then “proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head.” She added that she “wanted nothing more than to get Biden away.”
The piece is unfortunately reminiscent of so many other Me Too-era accounts of women’s discomfort with more powerful men. Flores, who also ran for Congress in 2016, talked of her self-doubt, and the agony she went through trying to decide whether to tell the story, imagining the questions others would have. She explained the power dynamics at play in the interaction, which she described as “bizarre”:
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.
As Flores herself noted, the “creepy uncle” label that Biden has received has both highlighted his strange behavior around women, a remarkable amount of which has been caught on camera, and normalized it.
Splinter has reached out to Biden’s foundation for comment, and will update with any response we receive.
In 2014, writer Alana Hope Levinson wrote a piece for TPM wondering why Biden “gets a pass” from liberals for his (public!) treatment of women, and argued that if “progressives are really committed to combating sexism, they have to be indiscriminate about calling it out—even if it means indicting one of their own.” Levinson later wrote that the vitriol she received from TPM readers for her piece meant she “shied away from writing anything controversial for the rest of my time at the news organization.”
All signs indicate that Biden is very likely to run for president. It’s now five years after this alleged incident, and post-Me Too. We can only hope that the progressive discourse has improved since then, and that Flores’ allegations against Biden will be taken seriously.