Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

2nd woman recounts unwanted touching by Joe Biden

The developments underscored the challenge facing Biden should he decide to seek the White House

Aides to Joe Biden are striking a more aggressive tone as the former vice-president faces scrutiny over his past behaviour toward women.

In a statement Monday, Biden spokesman Bill Russo blasted “right wing trolls” from “the dark recesses of the internet” for conflating images of Biden embracing acquaintances, colleagues and friends in his official capacity during swearing-in ceremonies with uninvited touching.

The move came on a day in which a second woman said Biden had acted inappropriately, touching her face with both hands and rubbing noses with her in 2009. The allegation by Amy Lappos, a former aide to Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, followed a magazine essay by former Nevada politician Lucy Flores, who wrote that Biden kissed her on the back of the head in 2014.

The developments underscored the challenge facing Biden should he decide to seek the White House. Following historic wins in the 2018 midterms, Democratic politics is dominated by energy from women. The allegations could leave the 76-year-old Biden, long known for his affectionate mannerisms, appearing out of touch with the party as the Democratic presidential primary begins.

Lappos told The Associated Press that she and other Himes aides were helping out at a fundraiser in a private home in Hartford, Connecticut, in October 2009 when Biden entered the kitchen to thank the group for pitching in.

“After he finished speaking, he stopped to talk to us about how important a congressional staff is, which I thought was awesome,” Lappos said.

She said she was stunned as Biden moved toward her.

“He wrapped both his hands around my face and pulled me in,” said Lappos, who is now 43. “I thought, ‘Oh, God, he’s going to kiss me.’ Instead, he rubbed noses with me.” Biden said nothing, she said, then moved off. She said the experience left her feeling “weird and uncomfortable” and was “absolutely disrespectful of my personal boundaries.”

The Hartford Courant first reported Lappos’ assertion.

Russo didn’t directly respond to Lappos, instead referring to a Sunday statement in which Biden said he doesn’t believe he has acted inappropriately during his long public life. The former vice-president said in that statement: “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.”

Biden hasn’t made a final decision on whether to run for the White House. But aides who weren’t authorized to discuss internal conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity said there were no signs that his team was slowing its preparations for a campaign.

READ MORE: Biden defends his behaviour with women

Asked by the AP about the accusations against Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “I don’t think that this disqualifies him from running for president, not at all.” She declined to elaborate.

Biden’s potential Democratic rivals haven’t rushed to back him up. Over the weekend, presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand came closest to calling out the former vice-president. Warren said Biden “needs to give an answer” about what occurred. Gillibrand said, “If Vice-President Biden becomes a candidate, this is a topic he’ll have to engage on further.”

Ultraviolet, a women’s advocacy group, tweeted: “Joe Biden cannot paint himself as a champion of women and then refuse to listen and learn from a woman who says his actions demeaned her. Good intentions don’t matter if the actions are inappropriate. Do better, Joe. And thank you @LucyFlores for coming forward.”

___

Beaumont reported from Des Moines, Iowa. AP Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace contributed to this report.

___

Thomas Beaumont And Stephen Braun, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Abbotsford Agrifair’s Drive-Thru Safari debuts

Event draws well as families look for entertainment in COVID-19 era

Abbotsford Police respond to incident on Edgeview Place

Cul-de-sac closed for several hours after mental health situation with young man on Sunday

Fraser Valley Bandits release top forward Cameron Forte

A team leader through four games of the CEBL Summer Series, Forte has been cut loose

The Happy Hiker, Art Lengkeek, recognized with bench and plaque on Mount Cheam trail

The 88 year old is a familiar sight on trails throughout the Fraser Valley and beyond

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Most Read