Another woman has accused former vice-president Joe Biden of unwanted touching, just days after former Nevada lieutenant governor nominee Lucy Flores wrote on the Cut that he inappropriately kissed her head at a 2014 event. Speaking with the Hartford Courant on Monday, Amy Lappos said that Biden inappropriately touched and rubbed noses with her during a 2009 political fundraiser.
Lappos, now 43, told the Courant that the incident occurred in October 2009 during a Greenwich, Connecticut, fundraiser for U.S. representative Jim Himes. Lappos was working at the time as a congressional aide for Himes (who she says was not in the room when the incident occurred), and was volunteering at the event. “It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head,” Lappos told the Courant. “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.”
Lappos, who is now a freelance nonprofit agency worker, further told the Courant: “I never filed a complaint, to be honest, because he was the vice president. I was a nobody. There’s absolutely a line of decency. There’s a line of respect. Crossing that line is not grandfatherly. It’s not cultural. It’s not affection. It’s sexism or misogyny.”
The Courant notes that Lappos originally made the allegation on Sunday in the Connecticut Women in Politics Facebook page, under the pseudonym Alice Paul, the name of a suffragette. Her post came two days after Flores published an essay for the Cut, in which she stated that Biden put his hands on her shoulders, inhaled her hair, and planted a “big slow kiss on the back” of her head at a campaign rally. Flores also wrote of Biden’s history of getting “uncomfortably close with women and young girls,” as depicted in images of him kissing a senator’s wife, whispering in women’s ears, snuggling female constituents and more.
Stephanie Carter, the wife of former Defense secretary Ash Carter who appeared in one such viral photo, wrote a Medium post on Sunday, defending Biden. Carter wrote that she was seeking to “reclaim” a “misleadingly extracted” image from 2015, in which Biden had his hands on her shoulders and appeared to be whispering into her ears during her husband’s swearing-in ceremony. “The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful,” Carter wrote.
On Sunday, Biden responded to Flores’s essay through a statement. He wrote, in part, that “in my many 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.”
The Courant notes that a spokeswoman for Biden declined to respond to Lappos’s allegation and instead referred to Biden’s Sunday statement.