CNN's Jake Tapper: Biden's Behavior 'Not Appropriate'
CNN host Jake Tapper on Monday criticized former Vice President Joe Biden over recent allegations of inappropriate touching made against him by several women, saying other men who behave in the same way would get “reprimanded” or “potentially even fired” from their jobs.
Earlier Monday, Lucy Flores, the first person to recount an alleged experience of inappropriate touching from Biden, said that the incident would not dissuade her from voting for him in the 2020 presidential election. "That’s not even a question, of course I would support Biden," the former Nevada lawmaker replied when asked on CBSN whether she would vote for Biden if he earned the Democratic nomination to run against President Donald Trump. But Flores also asserted that she wouldn’t vote for Biden in the Democratic primary due to a difference in opinions in terms of “his history” and “positions he has taken” in the past, such as confirming Clarence Thomas as Supreme Court Justice in 1991.
Following Flores’ allegations of unwanted kissing and touching, another woman, Amy Lappos, emerged with her own story about Biden being inappropriate towards her a decade ago. “It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head,” she said, recounting the scene at a Greenwich, Connecticut fundraiser in 2009. “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.”
During a segment on CNN’s The Lead, Tapper criticized Biden’s behavior.
“If any of the men around this table behaved this way at our places of work, we would get reprimanded; we would get potentially even fired,” the host said. “You are not allowed to touch women inappropriately. Again, it doesn’t matter if your intention is sexual or just friendly; you can’t massage a woman’s shoulders and sniff her hair and kiss the back of her head. That’s not appropriate.”
NBR White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe noted that we’ve reached a new era “in the way that women are talking about” the issue. Previously “women have been uncomfortable and put in uncomfortable situations for decades, for eons… the difference is women are speaking out about it,” she said.
Tapper then recounted what Flores said during their interview with CNN on Sunday about how Biden’s behavior “has been going on for a long time.”
“Has no one said anything to the vice president?” Tapper asked. “It is important to have people around you that can say ‘maybe not so much with the hands.’”
Democratic Strategist Jamal Simmons responded by saying that he isn't aware if anybody who worked for Biden had said anything. “I think the vice president’s learning this, men across America are learning this. Obviously, the Democratic party is dealing with this a lot. The thing that men thought was okay, that women gritted their teeth through, are no longer being tolerated,” he added.
In a statement to Newsweek and multiple other media outlets last week, Biden’s spokesperson Bill Russo said: “Neither then, nor in the years since, did he or the staff with him at the time have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes."
Russo added: "Vice President Biden believes that Ms. Flores has every right to share her own recollection and reflections, and that it is a change for better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so. He respects Ms. Flores as a strong and independent voice in our politics and wishes her only the best."