Lucy Flores, a woman who last year accused former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate touching five years ago at a campaign event, has faced backlash from fellow Democrats, she told the Washington Post in a recent interview.
“It has been hurtful [and] disappointing to see so many people who claim to uphold this higher standard, who claim to be feminists, who claim to be pro-woman and yet will turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior if it’s done by someone they really like,” Flores told the Post in the August 4 piece.
She told the Post she has received angry, threatening messages on Twitter targeting her looks, career, and family. “You make women with real abuse look stupid,” one said. Another accused her of being desperate to stay relevant. Some called her a “whore.”
Flores, a former Nevada state legislator, first came out with her story last spring. She said just before she and Biden were about to go onstage, Biden smelled her hair and planted a “a big slow kiss on the back of my head” at a 2014 rally in Las Vegas.
She said she anticipated scrutiny and harassment but not from her own party. She said Democrats she considered friends and allies questioned her memory and motives when she spoke out in March in New York magazine.
“What are you doing?” she said a Democratic acquaintance asked her. “Do you want to give this election to Donald Trump?”
She was also criticized by progressive celebrities like actress Alyssa Milano, who has claimed to be a prominent #MeToo activist.
Milano tweeted that she respected Flores’s “decision to share her story…But, just as we must believe women that decide to come forward, we cannot assume all women’s experiences are the same.”
Now, Flores said, Biden is leading the polls and she feels ostracized by her former Democrat colleagues.
The Post‘s Holly Bailey wrote:
The episode reflects how Democrats’ embrace of the #MeToo movement and a desire to highlight Trump’s alleged inappropriate treatment of women can lead to awkward political dynamics when the allegations are aimed at one of the party’s own.
Flores said after she came out with her claims, old friends turned on her, such as Henry R. Muñoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Fund. He issued a statement March 31 in defense of Biden.
“He came out and called me a liar,” Flores said. “That was very hurtful, and it was very surprising because I don’t know why you would just put yourself out there in that way if you didn’t have to.”
One of Flores’ friends, Felicia Ortiz, who serves on the Nevada State Board of Education, said people are afraid of upsetting the Biden campaign and alienating former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who remains a powerful figure in Nevada and “became disenchanted with Flores.”
“Nevada is very much like a small town,” Ortiz told the Post. “People aren’t going to rock the boat. . . . They’re not going to risk the political capital of going against the Harry Reid machine to speak out for Lucy.”
Flores said she started to cry when she was introduced at a forum hosted by She the People in May as someone with “the audacity and the courage to call out the person who is now polling as a front-runner for the Democratic Party.”
“I had no idea that as many battles as I’ve had with the Republican Party, I would have as many, if not more, with my own party,” she reportedly told the crowd.
She received a standing ovation from the audience of mostly black and Hispanic women, many who lined up afterward to give her a hug.
Flores said she has not heard from Biden or any of his associates. She said he has since made light of the controversy, which she found “insulting.”
During a speech to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, he reportedly joked that he had gotten permission to hug the union members.
“For him to go out in front of hundreds of old white men and joke about it and have them laugh — they weren’t laughing at his jokes,” she said. “They were also laughing at me, and they were laughing at the other women.”
“He doesn’t care,” she said. “He is just so nonchalant about it. The worst of the pushback, the worst of the outrage, is over. I think he feels like it’s died down to the point where he just doesn’t have to pay attention to it anymore.”
Flores said she will vote for him if he is the Democrat nominee, but that she worries about her future. However, she told the Post she has no regrets.
“This is a conversation we needed to have for a very long time,” she said.