A Woman Says Joe Biden Kissed Her Without Her Consent
People who assume they’d work on a Biden campaign have been stuck wondering whether they will in fact be offered jobs, what those jobs might be, when they’d be expected to start, how much they’d be paid, not knowing when or whether they’re going to have to uproot their lives.
It’s obvious now that the work they’re not doing is taking a toll.
Friday afternoon, New York magazine published a bombshell: a first-person account from Lucy Flores, who said that at an event in 2014, when she was running for lieutenant governor of Nevada, she felt Biden “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.”
Biden supporters were a mix of exasperated and expecting it. Biden has a long-established reputation for his touchy-feely ways. There are super cuts online of him at the ceremonial swearings-in of senators, rubbing shoulders, nuzzling, making comments to teenage girls about how they can’t date until they’re 30. Even if it’s not intended to be sexual, it can come off as creepy—especially in the context of the larger cultural shift underway in America—especially to people who want it to come off creepy, and not, as one defender put it to me, of a man who is a “human golden retriever.”
That’s not an argument that the Biden campaign was making proactively, because there is no Biden campaign to make an argument proactively—even as everyone else in the race and every reporter covering the race treat him like it’s only a matter of time until everyone gets on the Amtrak to Delaware to see him declare.
The risks of Biden’s campaignlessness are evident in other ways, too. Friday morning, The New York Times ran a story pointing out Biden’s inconsistent record on abortion, and his public struggles earlier in his career to reconcile his Catholicism with being pro-choice. Biden, of course, hasn’t been talking much about his record on abortion rights because that would require campaigning, which he won’t do.
For all the hours he’s spent talking to allies about the polling data he has that shows a path for him right down the middle of the party and the country, he hasn’t spent the time doing the required diligence with many of the advocates and activists who want to hear from him. And that left NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue matter-of-factly telling the Times, “I can’t tell you if he’s there or not,” because she hasn’t heard from him about running, or where he stands. On Wednesday night, in a speech in New York he said, “I wish I could have done something” to help Anita Hill, and was immediately mocked by many who pointed out that he was at the time chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and had control of the hearings. For other stories about Biden’s record on the 1994 Crime Bill or opposing school busing, the same general approach has applied. “Part of the issue here of only having only an ongoing campaign-in-waiting is that there’s no infrastructure to adequately respond to a negative story. No political apparatus. No surrogates,” a sympathetic Democratic strategist told me on Saturday afternoon.