Written by staff writer Prisha Puntambekar
In late March, Lucy Flores became one of the first women to issue a bold statement involving Joe Biden and his alleged history of inappropriate conduct. Flores claimed that presidential candidate Joe Biden harassed her back in 2014.
Since then, several women have stepped forward to share their stories of Biden’s misconduct. Initially, the majority of women admitted that, although Biden did not sexually assault them, many of his actions made them uncomfortable in their workplaces.
“When Amy Lappos was a congressional aide for U.S. representative Jim Himes in 2009, she claims that Biden touched and rubbed his nose against hers during a political fund-raiser,” an article from The Cut stated. When speaking to The Hartford Courant about the experience, Lappos said, “‘It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head, […] He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.’”
The stories of other women run along similar lines; Biden either allegedly hugged them for too long, oddly touched their shoulders and backs, or brought his face too close to theirs.
Unlike other accusers, Alexandra Tara Reade claims to have experienced outright sexual assault from Biden. Reade, now 56, claims he raped her in the basement of a Senate office building during the spring of 1993.
At the time, she was a junior staffer dropping a bag off with the presidential candidate. According to NPR, “When Reade met up with the senator, she said, he pinned her up against a wall and penetrated her vagina with his fingers.” After Reade frightenedly pulled away, Biden allegedly told her that she was “nothing” to him. Then, he reassured Reade by stating, “You’re OK. You’re fine. You’re OK,” and proceeded to leave.
Reade experienced several other incidents of mistreatment from Biden, most of which involved his fingers awkwardly moving from her shoulders to the neck. Additionally, according to The Cut, “Reade told the Union that her responsibilities at work were reduced after she refused to serve drinks at an event — a task she believes she was assigned because Biden liked her legs.”
The Biden campaign strongly denies the accusation and reminds voters of his support for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Act, which Biden popularized in 1990, prevented domestic abusers from escaping law enforcement. VAWA permitted “federal prosecution of interstate domestic violence,” according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Details on the issue continue to develop, but both Democrats and Republicans are outraged with the situation’s lack of media coverage. According to the New York Post, “The editor of the New York Times tried to claim, […] that Biden, the potential next leader of the Free World, just isn’t as ‘hot’ a topic.”
Despite the debate over Biden’s past and even recent conduct, he continues to move forward in his journey towards presidency. Biden’s upcoming campaign events will remain virtual, occurring between April and June.