Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Tuesday ducked questions about former Vice President Joe Biden by running into a stairwell, according to a reporter following the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
ABC News correspondent Mariam Khan tweeted that she and other reporters chased Booker down a hallway seeking comment on accusations of Biden getting too close for comfort with several women, sniffing their hair and embracing them intimately without consent. “So first of all, let me just say one thing real quick: it is good to see you today and I look forward to talking soon!” Booker responded. According to Khan, Booker then darted into a stairwell to dodge further questions on the hot-button topic.
.@SenBooker responding to the Biden allegations this morning after we chased him down a hallway: "So first of all, let me just say one thing real quick: it is good to see you today and I look forward to talking soon!" And then he ran into a stairwell to escape us.
— Mariam Khan (@MKhan47) April 2, 2019
Booker’s non-answer comes as Biden’s 2020 campaign-in-waiting scrambles to contain any political damage over his past behavior with women.
Two women have said Biden touched them inappropriately in the past. Amy Lappos, a former aide to Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), said Monday that Biden touched her face with both hands and rubbed noses in 2009. Former Nevada politician Lucy Flores penned a magazine essay last week in which she wrote that Biden kissed her on the back of the head in 2014.
Appearing Sunday on CNN’s The Lead, Flores argued the former vice president’s treatment of women was “disqualifying” as a presidential candidate. “For me, this isn’t the only problematic thing, I think his response in the way in which he handled the Anita Hill hearing was completely inappropriate and lacked empathy and frankly lacked accountability, saying he wishes there was something more he could have done,” she told host Jake Tapper. However, in an interview with CBSN the follow day, Flores said she would support Biden over President Donald Trump in hypothetical 2020 match-up.
On Monday, Biden spokesman Bill Russo didn’t directly respond to Lappos, instead referring to a Sunday statement in which Biden said he doesn’t believe he has acted inappropriately during his long public life. The former vice president said in that statement: “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.”
Biden has not made a final decision on whether to run for the White House. However, aides who weren’t authorized to discuss internal conversations and spoke on the condition of anonymity said there were no signs that his team was slowing its preparations for a campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.