Former vice president Joe Biden released a statement Sunday — his second in three days — in response to allegations that he had touched women inappropriately throughout his public life.
Biden’s first statement followed the publication of an essay on Friday by former Nevada lawmaker Lucy Flores in which she recalled Biden moving in close to her, smelling her hair, and kissing her on the back of the head — all without her consent.
In response to that article, Biden’s spokesperson released a statement:
Vice President Biden was pleased to support Lucy Flores’s candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of Nevada in 2014 and to speak on her behalf at a well-attended public event.
Neither then, nor in the years since, did he or the staff with him have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes.
But Vice President Biden believes that Ms. Flores has every right to share her own recollection and reflection, and that it is a change for the better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so. He respects Ms. Flores as a strong and independent voice in our politics and wishes her only the best.
On Sunday, Biden issued another statement:
In my 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. 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.
I will also remain the strongest advocate I can be for the rights of women. I will fight to build on the work I’ve done in my career to end violence against women and ensure women are treated with the equality they deserve. I will continue to surround myself with trusted women advisers who challenge me to see different perspectives than my own. And I will continue to speak out on these vitally-important issues where there is much more progress to be made and crucial fights that must be waged and won.
Biden’s apparent habit of touching women in public has been a recurrent joke among his critics for several years.
The former vice president leads polls of Democratic Party voters but has not yet declared his candidacy for president in 2020.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.