Former Vice President Joe Biden has yet to decide whether he will be entering the already crowded field of those seeking to represent the Democratic Party in the 2020 presidential election. But those who are running have wasted no time in treating him as a rival for the nomination, pouncing on any vulnerability.
Illustrative of the point is the fact that 2020 hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) demanded answers from Biden on Saturday after he was accused of inappropriately touching a Nevada politician in 2014.
Lucy Flores, a one-time Democrat nominee for lieutenant governor of Nevada, pointed the finger at Biden in an op-ed for New York Magazine offshoot The Cut on Friday. She accused Biden of kissing her on the back of the head at a campaign rally in Nevada in 2014.
She said it made her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused.”
In the article, Flores described what she says happened, writing: “I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head.”
She continued: “I couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused.”
As of yet, Biden has only responded by way of spokesman Bill Russo, who released a statement on Friday denying Flores’ account of what happened.
“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,” Russo said. “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.”
In the statement, Russo tried to keep Biden within the boundaries of a Democratic Party that supports the #MeToo movement, writing: “Vice President Biden believes that Ms. Flores has every right to share her own recollection and reflections, and that it is a change for better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so.”
People know Joe Biden and they know his character, his integrity and his values. They know him to be someone who is empathetic, caring and who understands their problems and concerns. That’s how he reacts to people and it’s how people react to him. In fact, some of the people who know him best — people who have worked for him throughout his career — are speaking up to say that he has always been a champion for women in his office.
Circular firing squad
Despite Biden’s statements denying the allegations, Warren was not satisfied at an Iowa event on Saturday.
“I believe Lucy Flores,” she said. “And Joe Biden needs to give an answer.”
Will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and ultimately prevents Biden from entering the race in 2020? Only time will tell.