Durbin: One Allegation Against Joe Biden Is Not Disqualifying

March 31, 2019

Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said on Sunday that one allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate behavior towards women is not disqualifying.

"Quickly on 2020. Joe Biden, there's an allegation that he was basically too—made some women feel uncomfortable by some ways that he acted around them," NBC host Chuck Todd said. "Are you concerned that Joe Biden can handle the onslaught of 2020? Do you think he should run?"

"I can tell you that Joe Biden is a friend and a seasoned veteran when it comes to political campaigns. I know nothing about the allegations that I also read this morning, as well. I think all of us should take such allegations seriously and with respect," Durbin said. I took Joe Biden's statement to say just that, exactly."

"Yes, I think he's ready if that's his decision to move forward in this presidential campaign," he added.

"This isn't disqualifying?" Todd asked.

"Certainly one allegation is not disqualifying, but it should be taken seriously," Durbin responded.

On Friday, a woman named Lucy Flores published an essay where she accused the former vice president of making her feel uncomfortable with inappropriate touching. Flores, who was running to be Nevada's lieutenant governor in 2014 detailed how, when waiting to take the stage behind the scenes of a campaign stop, Biden began touching her without permission.

"As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. ‘Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?'" Flores wrote.

Flores alleges that Biden smelled her hair and then kissed the back of her head.

Biden's office released a statement on Sunday responding to the allegation.

"In many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested that I did so I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention," the statement reads. "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 that they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention, and I will,"

This behavior from Biden has been documented in the past when he massaged and smelled the hair of Defense Secretary Ash Carter's wife Stephanie at his swearing-in ceremony to her obvious discomfort.

Biden, who will likely launch another presidential campaign, has had a lot to apologize for from his past. He has apologized for his vote on the 1994 crime bill and his treatment to Anita Hill, apparently in the lead-up to announcing his 2020 candidacy.