In an interview Sunday, Lucy Flores, a former Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Nevada, described an “unexpected” and “slow” kiss on the head from then-Vice President Joe Biden ahead of a campaign event in 2014.
“Very unexpectedly and out of nowhere I feel Joe Biden put his hands on my shoulders, get up very close to me from behind, lean in, smell my hair and then plant a slow kiss on the top of my head,” Flores recalled in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Flores was expanding on a description of the encounter she wrote that was published in The Cut on Friday.
In a response that Tapper read in part on air, Biden said that over his career he had offered “countless […] expressions of affection” but that he never believed he “acted inappropriately.”
“If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully,” Biden said in part.
Flores said she was “glad” Biden was “willing to listen,” but added that the story should “be about the women on the receiving end of that behavior.”
“If he is saying that he never believed that that was inappropriate, then frankly I think that’s a little bit of a disconnect, and not being aware, because there has been documentation” of repeated instances of similar behavior from Biden over the years, Flores said.
Flores also said Biden’s response to her claim Sunday was “better than his first statement.” She was seemingly referring to one a spokesperson for Biden gave to several media outlets. Per The Washington Post:
A spokesman for Biden on Friday said the former vice president was “pleased” to support Flores in 2014, and neither he nor his staff had “an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes.”
“But 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,” the statement read. “He respects Ms. Flores as a strong and independent voice in our politics and wishes her only the best.”
“For me, it’s disqualifying,” Flores told Tapper later. “I think it’s up to everybody else to make that decision, considering, again, the entire scope of his background [and] the positions he’s taken.”
Asked how she would respond to the criticism that “politics might be at least partially motivating you here,” Flores said “politics was definitely the impetus.”
“The reason why we’re having these conversations about Vice President Joe Biden is because he’s considering running for president,” she continued. “Frankly, the reason why I felt so compelled to finally say something was because over the years, as this behavior was documented, as it was frankly dismissed by the media and not taken seriously, that conversation was not coming up in the discussions about whether or not he would, in a complete analysis of his history, of his record, as we go through the vetting process for all of these candidates, that important aspect was being left out.”
“It was being dismissed and it wasn’t being acknowledged,” Flores said.
Lucy Flores, former Democratic nominee for Nevada lieutenant governor, reacts to Joe Biden's statement responding to her claim that he unexpectedly kissed her before a campaign event. pic.twitter.com/zOmVSBynkR
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) March 31, 2019
This post has been updated.