(AUL LOEB,JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
- Bernie Sanders’ campaign denied that it persuaded women to accuse Joe Biden of touching them inappropriately.
- Sanders’ campaign manager told the Daily Beast that the rumors made his "blood boil."
- Four women have alleged that Biden made them uncomfortable with unwanted physical contact.
- The former vice president’s image has take a hit, but the allegations do not disqualify him from running in the 2020 election.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Bernie Sanders’ campaign on Tuesday denied allegations that it persuaded women to come out with accusations that Joe Biden of inappropriately touching them.
Four women have come forward with allegations of unwanted physical contact from Biden ahead of his potential presidential bid. A Democratic source said Biden’s circles suspected that the stories were "all coming out of Bernie world," according to the Daily Beast.
Sanders’ manager Faiz Shakir staunchly denied these claims, telling the Daily Beast that his "blood boils" because of rumors linking the campaign to a former Nevada assemblywoman’s allegation that Biden gave her an unwanted kiss.
"Neither the Bernie Sanders campaign nor anyone involved in it, planted, planned, persuaded, cajoled or otherwise urged Lucy Flores or anyone else to tell their story," he said. "Full stop, period, end of sentence. I don’t want to hear it. We didn’t play a role."
"It is deeply disrespectful and shameful that any time a woman comes forward to tell her story there has to be some kind of intimation or suggestion that that person is doing so out of some political agenda and or that the person may be lying," Shakir continued.
Flores was the first of the four women to accuse the former vice president of behaving inappropriately. In an exposé published by New York Magazine on Friday, she described feeling "uneasy, gross, and confused" when the former vice president allegedly smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head at a campaign event in 2014.
The other women alleged that Biden also made them uncomfortable by rubbing noses, putting his hand on their thighs, and giving lingering hugs.
Biden is known for his tactile style, freely giving out handshakes and hugs to supporters and fellow politicians. He responded to Flores’ allegation, saying he was not aware he was acting inappropriately.
"In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort," Biden said in a statement. "And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention."
Following public outcry, some Democratic officials and activists have come to Biden’s defense. Stephanie Carter, the wife of former defense secretary Ash Carter, wrote a Medium post explaining why a viral photo of Biden massaging her shoulder was misinterpreted.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Politico that the accusations against Biden do not disqualify him from joining the presidential race.
But she added: "He has to understand in the world that we’re in now that people’s space is important to them, and what’s important is how they receive it and not necessarily how you intended it."
- Joe Biden’s team is reportedly blaming Bernie Sanders’ camp for the trickle of stories from women about inappropriate contact
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