Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential aspirations are being threatened by suggestions and claims of inappropriate behavior toward women, real or imagined.
Biden was hit with an accusation last week from former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, who said he kissed her inappropriately in 2014 while campaigning for her, but another woman has come to Biden’s defense over a photo that she said is misleading.
Stephanie Carter, wife of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, responded to a photo taken at her husband’s 2015 swearing-in that’s frequently pointed to as an example of Biden’s handsy behavior around women.
In the photo, Biden is standing behind Mrs. Carter with his hands on her shoulders in what looks to be an awkward moment, as he is pressing his face up against the back of her head in an intimate embrace.
Writing a piece on Medium, Carter said the misleading photo was “extracted from what was a longer moment between close friends.”
Explaining that she was “feeling self-conscious and tentative,” Carter said that Biden “could sense I was uncharacteristically nervous.”
“After the swearing-in, as Ash was giving remarks, he leaned in to tell me ‘thank you for letting him do this’ and kept his hands on my shoulders as a means of offering his support. But a still shot taken from a video — misleadingly extracted from what was a longer moment between close friends — sent out in a snarky tweet — came to be the lasting image of that day.”
The photograph takes on added relevance as it depicts a similar scene described by Flores, who said Biden made her “feel uneasy, gross, and confused.”
Flores clarified in an interview over the weekend she does not consider the alleged incident to be sexual harassment.
Lucy Flores does not call her interaction with former VP Biden sexual harassment, instead saying it was "an invasion of my personal space … a clear invasion of my bodily autonomy to not be touched, unless I give you permission to touch it." pic.twitter.com/q72Od4KyfM
— Way Too Early with Kasie Hunt (@WayTooEarly) March 31, 2019
Biden spokesman Bill Russo told the Associated Press that the former vice president doesn’t remember kissing Flores, according to Fox News.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” Biden said in his own statement Sunday. “And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
Henry Munoz, the organizer of the Nevada campaign rally, issued a statement that cast shade on Flores’ claim, The Hill reported.
“To the best of our recollection, at no time were Lucy Flores and Vice President Biden alone,” Munoz said in the release.
While there is no photo of the moment Flores described, there is this photo making the rounds.
So how did Biden feel when on the same day as the “incident” she touched him during a selfie. Did she invade his personal space – it wasn’t absolutely necessary to touch him to take the photo. Did he give her permission to touch his shoulder? Did @LucyFlores ask first? pic.twitter.com/a6E9iroVnc
— Charley (@CharleyCulture) April 1, 2019
One thing is certain, with Biden seen as a 2020 front-runner, even though he has yet to declare his candidacy, some of his potential opponents — see hard-left progressives — are jumping on Flores’ accusation.
As for Stephanie Carter, she said her motivation in speaking out was to be able to speak for herself.
“I won’t pretend that this will be the last of that picture, but it will be the last of other people speaking for me,” she wrote.
And there are other pictures and videos of Biden invading the personal space of both women reporters and young girls.
This Amie Parnes, the one Joe Biden’s fondling? pic.twitter.com/FEnnerdvMy
— JWF (@JammieWF) March 15, 2017
This video is like Mike Tyson going for Evander Holyfield's ear https://t.co/yVJ8r1GTUm
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 7, 2015
Even White House counselor Kellyanne Conway piled on Sunday in an interview on Fox News.
“If anybody just types in ‘Creepy Uncle Joe Videos’ you come up with a treasure trove,” she explained. “I think Joe Biden has a big problem here because he calls it affection and handshakes, his party calls it completely inappropriate.”
And in the #MeToo age, Biden has other hurdles he must scale, going all the way back to the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, where Anita Hill’s credibility was challenged after she accused the jurist of sexual harassment.
Biden recently said he regretted that he “couldn’t give [Hill] the kind of hearing she deserved,” but some 27 years later, actress Jamie Lee Curtis is calling for a face-to-face apology.
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