In a Friday essay, a female Democratic politician who once campaigned alongside former Vice President Joe Biden spoke out about how she felt personally violated by his habit of touching women.
"An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden," wrote former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores for New York Magazine, and filed under "#MeToo." The former Democratic nominee for 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 recounted.
Biden proceeded to start smelling her hair. "What in the actual fuck? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?" Flores recalls thinking to herself.
Biden then began kissing the back of Flores' neck. "My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused," she wrote. "There is a Spanish saying, "tragame tierra," it means, 'earth, swallow me whole.' I couldn't move and I couldn't say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me."
Biden "made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused," Flores wrote. "The vice-president of the United States of America had just touched me in an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners — and I felt powerless to do anything about it."
Flores wrote that she was speaking out now in part because of Biden's likely 2020 presidential candidacy. She also reports that when she approached a male political operative in the Biden orbit, he "made me question myself" and warned that "Biden has significant resources."
The details of Flores's story gibes with how Biden has acted with women even in public. Most notably, Biden was criticized by many in the mainstream press when he could be seen massaging and smelling the hair of Defense Secretary Ash Carter's wife Stephanie at his swearing-in ceremony to her obvious discomfort.