Screenshot via CNN
- Lucy Flores, a Democratic politician from Nevada, doubled down on her claims that former Vice President Joe Biden touched her inappropriately in her first television interviewsince taking her story public.
- Flores detailed an incident with Biden in a New York Magazine article published Friday, in which she said the former vice president grasped her shoulders and kissed her head at a 2014 event.
- Responding to Biden’s statement in which he said he didn’t believe he acted inappropriately, Flores said she wanted him to "change his behavior, and I want him to acknowledge that [the alleged encounter] was wrong."
- Flores’ story resurfaced years of photos and videos capturing Biden in extremely close contact with various women.
Lucy Flores, a Democratic politician from Nevada, pushed back on former Vice President Joe Biden’s response to her claims he touched her inappropriately while calling for acknowledgment in her first television interview since taking her story public.
Flores detailed the incident in a New York Magazine piece published Friday, where she wrote that Biden grasped her shoulders from behind and kissed the back of her head without her consent during a campaign event in 2014.
In a statement released Sunday, Biden denied that there was an inappropriate tone to the encounter, saying he didn’t believe he acted inappropriately and making Flores uncomfortable was "never my intention."
Flores pushed back on the statement, saying on CNN’s "State of the Union" she wanted the former vice president to acknowledge his alleged actions and "change his 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," she said. "I want him to change his behavior, and I want him to acknowledge that it was wrong."
The published account of the incident included a number of other pictures and videos that capture Biden in close contact with women in Washington and on the campaign trail, including some of him nuzzling the neck of an officials’ wife and closely whispering to women.
"What I am saying is that it’s completely inappropriate, that it does not belong in any kind of a professional setting, much less in politics, and that is something that we should consider when we are talking about the background of a person who is considering running for president," she said Sunday after repeating her account of the alleged incident.
Responding to Biden’s statement, Flores said his intentions are irrelevant in the face of power dynamics that exist between someone in power like the vice president and other, less powerful, women.
"I just can’t imagine that there was never a situation where someone said to him, ‘Mr. Vice President, you probably should stop doing that. You should probably stop touching women in that way. You should probably keep your hands to yourself,’" she said.
Echoing calls from other Democratic politicians, Flores said she hoped for a "bigger discussion" concerning women’s safety in politics.
"I want this to be a bigger discussion about how there is no accountability structure within our political space," she added. "We are not protected in politics. And frankly, on a much larger scale, we also need to have a conversation about powerful men feeling that they have the right to invade a woman’s space whenever they’d like."
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders made a similar call Sunday, telling CBS’ Margaret Brennan on "Face the Nation" that he has "no reason not to believe" Flores and hopes for a culture change around the treatment of women.
"What this speaks to is the need to fundamentally change the culture of this country and to create environments where women feel comfortable and feel safe," Sanders said. "That’s something we’ve got to do."
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