Former Vice President Joe Biden’s second accuser on Monday likened the potential 2020 presidential contender to disgraced Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and suggested he not seek the White House, according to a report.
Amy Lappos, a 43-year old non-profit freelancer, detailed her alleged encounter with Biden in an interview with The Courant on Monday. “It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head,” said Lappos. “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.” According to Lappos, the alleged incident took place at a 2009 fundraiser for Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), whom she served as a congressional aide at the time.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner Monday evening, Lappos said the ordeal reminded her of Franken’s alleged inappropriate touching of women. The Minnesota Democrat resigned from the Senate in December 2017 after several women came forward alleging sexual misconduct by him. “This is the Al Franken thing all over again,” she told the Examiner.
Lappos took to social media on Sunday, posting about the alleged incident on the Facebook page “Connecticut Women in Politics” in response to Nevada Democrat Assemblywoman Lucy Flores’ own accusations against the former vice president. In an essay for The Cut, Flores said Biden kissed her on the back of her head and smelled her hair during a 2014 campaign event.
“Women of my own party are tearing apart Flores and it was my responsibility to come forward,” Lappos told the Examiner. “What he did was hideous. It was an invasion of personal space and incredibly awkward. Joe Biden can’t keep his hands to himself. I’ve been hearing things and reading things for so long and I just had to say something.”
Lappos then said the former vice president’s actions around women disqualified him from seeking the highest office in the land. “We have four other talented women running, he should throw his support behind them,” she said to the Examiner.
Lappos’ eyebrow-raising #MeToo accusation follows a statement by Biden in which he maintained he “never” touched anyone inappropriately, yet “may not recall these moments the same way.” Biden said Sunday:
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.
On Monday, Biden spokesman Bill Russo issued another, more combative statement addressing the controversy surrounding photos of the possible 2020 candidate interacting awkwardly with women, dismissing them as “smears and forgeries” that have “existed in the dark recesses of the Internet for a while.” Russo said:
The Vice President has issued a statement affirming that in all the many years in public life that he has shaken a hand, given or received a hug, or laid his hand on a shoulder to express concern, support; or reassurance, he never intended to cause discomfort. He has said that he believes that women who have experienced any such discomfort, regardless of intention, should speak and be heard, and that he will be among those who listen.
“But the important conversation about these issues are not advanced, nor are any criticisms of Vice President Biden validated, by the continued misrepresentation of the Carter and Coons moments, or a failure to be vigilant about a cottage industry of lies,” he added.