Even before former Vice President Joe Biden officially declared his presidential run, his team is already having to respond to allegations of improper behavior toward women.
The first allegation surfaced on Friday and may have opened a can of worms for the former veep as other photos and videos of alleged improper conduct are being revealed.
One photo involves Stephanie Carter, the wife of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
In the photo, Ash Carter is standing at a podium in the White House after his swearing-in ceremony. Behind him stands Stephanie and Biden. Biden, the vice president at the time of the photo, is standing closely behind Stephanie and has his hands on her shoulders. He is leaning in an intimate manner, whispering something into her ear.
Carter explains in her article that she had seen the photo making its way on the news, around social media, and even on late night talk shows. She said she felt it was time to clear the air on the image and offer context to it.
“Last night, I received a text from a friend letting me know that picture was once again all over Twitter in connection to Lucy Flores’ personal account of a 2014 encounter with Joe Biden. Let me state upfront that I don’t know her, but I absolutely support her right to speak her truth and she should be, like all women, believed. But her story is not mine,” Carter wrote, via Medium. “The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful. So, as the sole owner of my story, it is high time that I reclaim it — from strangers, Twitter, the pundits and the late-night hosts.
Upon our arrival at the Pentagon, I had slipped and fell on some ice — which a few journalists were nice enough to tweet about. Later, we went to the White House for the swearing in and I was feeling self-conscious and tentative (not a normal state for those who know me) about the fall — and perhaps about how much our life might change. As we walked in the room, reporters were staged and a young woman from Huffington Post shouted to me to ask if I was doing all right — I was somewhat thrown (did I not look all right?) but quickly remembered news of my fall on the ice had traveled. By the time then-Vice President Biden had arrived, he could sense I was uncharacteristically nervous- and quickly gave me a hug. After the swearing in, as Ash was giving remarks, he leaned in to tell me “thank you for letting him do this” and kept his hands on my shoulders as a means of offering his support. But a still shot taken from a video — misleadingly extracted from what was a longer moment between close friends — sent out in a snarky tweet — came to be the lasting image of that day.
BizPac Review adds:
The photograph takes on added relevance as it depicts a similar scene described by Flores, who said Biden made her “feel uneasy, gross, and confused.”
Flores clarified in an interview over the weekend she does not consider the alleged incident to be sexual harassment.
Biden spokesman Bill Russo told the Associated Press that the former vice president doesn’t remember kissing Flores, according to Fox News.
Lucy Flores does not call her interaction with former VP Biden sexual harassment, instead saying it was "an invasion of my personal space … a clear invasion of my bodily autonomy to not be touched, unless I give you permission to touch it." pic.twitter.com/q72Od4KyfM
— Kasie DC (@KasieDC) March 31, 2019