A former Congressional aide from Connecticut is the second woman to say that Joe Biden touched her inappropriately, according to the Hartford Courant. Amy Lappos says she was at a Greenwich, CT fundraiser in 2009 when she encountered the then Vice President.
“It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head,” Amy Lappos told the Courant. “He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.”
In 2009, Lappos was an aide for Rep. Jim Himes and was volunteering for him at the event where the incident allegedly took place.
“I never filed a complaint, to be honest, because he was the vice president. I was a nobody,” Lappos told the Courant. “There’s absolutely a line of decency. There’s a line of respect. Crossing that line is not grandfatherly. It’s not cultural. It’s not affection. It’s sexism or misogyny.”
Lappos apparently commented about the incident on the Facebook page Connecticut Women in Politics in response to a post about Nevada politician Lucy Flores’ allegation that Biden touched her shoulders, smelled her hair, and kissed the back of her head without her permission at a campaign event in 2014. Lappos wrote the post under the pseudonym Alice Paul, who was a suffragette.
“Biden did something similar to me at a fundraiser in Greenwich when I was a congressional aide,” Lappos wrote in her Facebook post. “I’m really disappointed to see this [Facebook] post ask ‘thoughts’ as if the grossness of men invading women’s boundaries to sniff and touch is debatable. And shame on some of the women here excusing this as boys being boys or it’s not as bad as Trump. I can speak from experience when I say it’s an incredibly uncomfortable situation and not at all acceptable. We need to hold our men to the same standards we hold all men.”
A spokesperson for Biden declined to comment, and pointed towards the statement he provided in response to Flores’ allegations.
“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,” Biden said in the statement. “If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention. I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear. But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention. And I will.”
“I am speaking out today because I am so disappointed in my party, the Democratic Party, and the way we have treated Lucy Flores,” Lappos said in an additional statement. “Biden’s statement in response to Lucy’s article was not only disturbing it was disgusting. I stand by Lucy and any woman with the courage to come forward regarding inappropriate behavior by men.”
Himes, who is still the Congressman for 4th district in Connecticut, told the Courant that he first heard of the allegation on Monday. He didn’t provide a comment.
Another person who was at the 2009 event told the Courant that they didn’t witness any inappropriate behavior.
“The entire photo session was in good fun and Joe did nothing inappropriate,” Bob Natt, a major Democratic donor in Connecticut, told the Courant. Natt and his wife had their photo taken with Biden at the event.
Biden will almost certainly run for president in the 2020 Democratic primary, though he has yet to announce his candidacy.
“If Biden truly supports women and gender equality he would step aside and support one of the many talented and qualified women running,” Lappos told the Courant. “The same goes for the other men who have thrown their hat in the ring. Women are 52 percent of the population. We are not a minority, we are the majority. It is time we are represented as such. After 45 male presidents it is time we elect a woman.”