Politician writes Biden kissed her without consent

WASHINGTON: A one-time Democratic nominee for Nevada states Lieutenant Governor has accused former US Vice President Joe Biden of kissing and touching her without her consent during a November 2014 campaign event that made her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused”.

In an essay published on Friday by The Cut, an arm of New York magazine, Lucy Flores wrote that when she learned that the then Vice President had offered to appear at a rally in Nevada to support her campaign she was grateful. But that feeling changed, she said, when Biden approached her from behind as she was getting ready to address the crowd.

“I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified,” Flores wrote, adding that she wondered why Biden had come that close to her, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

“He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused.

“I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me,” she wrote.

Flores’ account came as Biden is considering a bid for President in 2020. His spokesman on Friday said the former Vice President was “pleased” to support Flores in 2014, and neither he nor his staff had “an inkling that Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes”.

“But Vice President Biden believes that 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. He respects Flores as a strong and independent voice in our politics and wishes her only the best.”

In her essay, Flores, noting that at the time she was a “young Latina in politics”, said she had “never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before”, adding that Biden “made me feel uneasy, gross and confused,” as well as “powerless”.

“Even if his behaviour wasn’t violent or sexual, it was demeaning and disrespectful,” she wrote.

“I’m not suggesting that Biden broke any laws, but the transgressions that society deems minor (or doesn’t even see as transgressions) often feel considerable to the person on the receiving end. That imbalance of power and attention is the whole point - and the whole problem,” Flores stated.

Flores wrote that she considered “the doubts, the threats, the insults and the minimisation” that may come as a result of her publicly sharing her allegation, but said she decided to after considering Biden’s potential run.