The former Nevada lawmaker who accused Joe Biden of “inappropriate” touching during a campaign rally thought there was “a little bit of a disconnect” with his response.
Former Nevada state legislator and Bernie Sanders supporter, Lucy Flores, told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that she is glad the former vice president is “willing to listen” but his sexual harassment of her during a 2014 campaign event “wasn’t the only incident” in which he acted inappropriately with women.
Flores laid out her accusations against Biden in an op-ed in which she detailed the incident, recounting how he had touched and kissed her head and also sniffed her hair. Biden’s team initially responded by saying he had no recollection of the incident but that Flores “has every right to share her own recollection and reflections.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 30, 2019
On Sunday, Biden released a statement addressing the Democrat’s allegations more directly, saying that “not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately.”
“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,” the potential contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination said.
“Well I certainly think it’s better than his first statement that they released on Saturday,” Flores reacted Sunday on CNN. “I’m glad he’s willing to listen. I’m glad he is clarifying his intentions.”
“Frankly, my point was never about his intentions, and they shouldn’t be about his intentions,” she added. “It should be about the women on the receiving end of that behavior.”
Flores noted “documentation” in photos and past stories about Biden’s behavior and called out his excuse for “not being aware.”
“This isn’t the first time and it wasn’t the only incident where he was acting inappropriately with women,” the former Nevada Lt. Governor candidate said. “If he is saying he never believed that was inappropriate, then frankly I think that’s a little bit of a disconnect, and not being aware, a sense of not being aware because there has been documentation both in photos, videos, stories that were written.”
Flores suggested perhaps past objections to Biden’s behavior may have just been dismissed.
“I just can’t imagine that there was never a situation where someone said to him, Vice President — Mr. Vice President, you probably should stop doing that. You should probably stop touching women in that way, you should probably keep your hands to yourself,” she said.
Flores also noted that the wide field of 2020 Democratic contenders has given her more of an opportunity to speak out, suggesting that since Democrats “have options,” she is not feeling the need to “stay quiet and just take one for the team the way in which we’re always asked to do.”
“We’re often pressured to keep our mouths shut about anything,” she said. “We are expected to quote-unquote keep our dirty laundry to ourselves, and it’s always in service the party.”
Meanwhile, other 2020 candidates have also been speaking out, many publicly stating that they believe Flores’ accusations.
“I read the op-ed last night. I believe Lucy Flores. And Joe Biden needs to give an answer,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren told reporters.
When asked if Biden should opt out of running as a presidential candidate in 2020, the Massachusetts Democrat responded, “That’s for Joe Biden to decide.”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders thought the decision to run or not to run should be entirely up to Biden but acknowledged that Flores’ “point is absolutely right”
“Well I think that’s a decision for the vice president to make. I’m not sure that one incident alone disqualifies anybody, but her point is absolutely right. This is an issue not just the Democrats or Republicans, the entire country has got to take seriously,” Sanders told Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
“It is not acceptable that when a woman goes to work or is in any kind of environment that she feels anything less than comfortable and safe. And this is an issue the entire country has got to work on,” the 2020 hopeful added.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar also weighed in, saying she has “no reason” not to believe Flores.
NEW: Sen. Amy Klobuchar tells @jonkarl, “I have no reason not to believe” Lucy Flores.
“I have not read her interview, but I know the vice president addressed it … and he will continue to address it if he decides to get into this race,” she adds. https://t.co/eOpv0bJOF3 pic.twitter.com/NZJ4WgODga
— ABC News (@ABC) March 31, 2019
“I have no reason not to believe her, Jonathan and I think we know from campaigns and from politics that people raise issues and they have to address them and that’s what he will have to do with voters if he gets into the race,” the Minnesota Democrat and 2020 candidate told Jon Karl on ABC’s “This Week.”