A former Nevada state assemblywoman's now-viral account of former Vice President Joe Biden kissing her without her consent describes nothing new — photos and videos of Biden touching women inappropriately have existed for years.
In the past, many in politics and the media wrote off videos and accounts of the 76-year-old Biden, nicknamed "Uncle Joe," acting inappropriately towards women as "Biden being Biden." But now, as the former vice president consistently leads in the national polls for the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, the allegation of inappropriate physical conduct by Biden has gained widespread negative attention.
In an essay for The Cut, Lucy Flores recounted an interaction she’d had backstage at a rally with the then-vice president in 2014 as she was running for lieutenant governor: “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?’ I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified… He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head.”
She describes being embarrassed, shocked, and confused. “I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me,” the 39-year-old wrote.
Biden has said he doesn’t recall the incident in question.
But other incidents have long been documented.
In 2015, while Ash Carter was delivering a speech during his swearing-in ceremony as the 25th secretary of defense, Joe Biden called his wife over and placed her in front of him, with a hand on each of her shoulders. At one point, he leaned in and whispered into her ear.
The behavior by Biden at swearing-in ceremonies seems to be part of a pattern.
At one swearing-in ceremony, Biden leaned down and whispered into the ear of the visibly uncomfortable daughter of Chris Coons, and she tries to move her head away as he plants a kiss on the side of her head.
At the Senate swearing-in ceremony for Cory Gardner, Biden pulled his daughter over next to him by her arm. A few seconds later, he moves her in front of him, with his hand uncomfortably high above her waist.
And in another inappropriate moment, when Biden was introduced to Orrin Hatch’s granddaughter at a Senate swearing-in ceremony, his immediate words to her were: “Hi Emily! Hope you have a big fence around the house!”
This sort of inappropriate touching and uncomfortable physical closeness by Biden wasn’t limited to swearing-in ceremonies, though.
At a 2013 Christmas party, Joe Biden’s hand is high around a White House reporter’s waist as they pose for a picture in front of a Christmas tree. And there is the photo of Biden leaning in close to a woman at a biker bar. And then, there was the “endless hug” that Biden gave Hillary Clinton in 2016, where he continued to hold onto her long after she’d broken the embrace.