“You know what, I had a lot of support for the ME TOO MOVEMENT, but this is ridiculous.”
Following accusations by former Nevada politician Lucy Flores alleging former Vice President Joe Biden kissed her without consent, a Connecticut woman has come forward to claim he touched her inappropriately.
Amy Lappos told the Hartford Courant on Monday that Biden grabbed her by the head, put his hand around her neck and pulled her in to “rub noses” with her. “When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth,” she said.
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Lappos, a freelance worker for nonprofit agencies who has volunteered for Democrats in the past, told the Courant she does not consider Biden’s behavior to be sexual in nature.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately,” Biden said in a statement to The Courant. “If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention. I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear. But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention. And I will.”
On Sunday, Lappos detailed her story in a post on the Connecticut Women in Politics Facebook page. Several commenters on the page were outraged that she decided to speak out, accusing her of “slander.”
“Woww Here we go with this Bull Crap Once…Again Why don’t we All Just Line up and Pick Someone that Touched us in any Way Shape or Form Omg American Nightmare,” wrote one woman. “Seriously????? You admit it wasn’t sexual and yet you feel the need to slander his reputation?” one female commenter said before revealing Lappos’ behavior had led her to question the #MeToo movement.
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“You know what, I had a lot of support for the ME TOO MOVEMENT, but this is ridiculous. And it is women like you who make it even more difficult for the women that actually have been inappropriately touched!!!” the commenter said.
She went on to question the timing of Lappos’ confession. “Something doesn’t quite pass the smell test here,” the woman said.
Meanwhile, government official Chris D. Jackson railed against the “insane weaponizing of the #MeToo movement” in the wake of the Biden accusations. One Biden supporter said Flores’ accusations had “officially made the #MeToo movement a joke.”
Joe Biden is a sweet/kind/gentle man.
He and his office showed the same amount of kindness+ care to us after Sandy Hook suffered.
— Sandy Hook CenTer (@SandyHookCenTer) April 1, 2019
Meanwhile, the Sandy Hook Center’s Twitter account tweeted, “We #BelieveWomen support #MeToo But, ‘cmon!” While it appears that Democrats are struggling with the implications of #MeToo when some of the most prominent members of their party are accused of misconduct, Lappos’ take on the Biden incident is clear.
“I never filed a complaint, to be honest, because he was the vice president. I was a nobody,” Lappos told The Courant. “There’s absolutely a line of decency. There’s a line of respect. Crossing that line is not grandfatherly. It’s not cultural. It’s not affection. It’s sexism or misogyny.”
The Cut published the details of an allegedly non-consensual encounter Flores had with Biden that she claims occurred at a campaign rally in 2014. The former Nevada assemblywoman, said that Biden put both of his hands on her shoulders from behind, leaned in to inhale her hair and planted “a big slow kiss” on the back of her head.
“I was mortified,” Flores said. “I thought to myself, ‘I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual fuck? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?’”
Flores, who was slated to speak before the rally crowd as part of her campaign for lieutenant governor, escaped when she was called up to the stage to speak.
“By then, as a young Latina in politics, I had gotten used to feeling like an outsider in rooms dominated by white men. But I had never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before,” Flores added. “Biden was the second-most powerful man in the country and, arguably, one of the most powerful men in the world.”
The former politician went on to say that Biden made her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused.”
“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,” she said.
Flores’ revelation echoes the #MeToo movement’s push to shine a spotlight on the sexual harassment of women by powerful men. And although the former Vice President has never been accused of sexual misconduct before, her remarks reflect accusations that Biden was a bit too overfamiliar in his dealings with women.
“Time passed and pictures started to surface of Vice-President Biden getting uncomfortably close with women and young girls. Biden nuzzling the neck of the Defense secretary’s wife; Biden kissing a senator’s wife on the lips; Biden whispering in women’s ears; Biden snuggling female constituents,” Flores wrote.
Conservatives, in particular, have long commented on Biden’s penchant for putting his hands on women’s shoulders while he leans in from behind. They’ve even come up with an unflattering moniker that references the behavior: “Creepy Uncle Joe.”
A lot of people on the Left only seem to care about the #MeToo movement when it can be used as a weapon against a political opponent. In this case it’s another Dem, Joe Biden.
— Lisa Boothe (@LisaMarieBoothe) March 31, 2019
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