News & Politics

A Second Biden Accuser Comes Forward

A Second Biden Accuser Comes Forward
Former Vice President Joe Biden sits during an event to formally launch the Biden Institute, a research and policy center focused on domestic issues at the University of Delaware, in Newark, Del., Monday, March 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A second woman has come forward accusing Vice President Biden of touching her inappropriately.

A Connecticut woman says Joe Biden touched her inappropriately and rubbed noses with her during a 2009 political fundraiser in Greenwich when he was vice president, drawing further scrutiny to the Democrat and his history of unwanted contact with women as he ponders a presidential run

“It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head,” Amy Lappos told The Courant Monday. “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 posted about the alleged incident on the Facebook page of Connecticut Women in Politics Sunday in response to a similar account by former Nevada legislator Lucy Flores, which comes as Biden is considering a 2020 run for president. Flores accused Biden of kissing her on the back of her head in 2014, when she was a candidate for lieutenant governor.

Lappos, 43, who is now a freelance worker with nonprofit agencies, said she felt extremely uncomfortable when Biden approached her at the 2009 fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th, where she was volunteering. At the time, Lappos was a congressional aide to Himes, who she said was not in the room when the incident took place.

Lappos was clearly intimidated by Biden’s position. “I never filed a complaint, to be honest, because he was the vice president. I was a nobody,” she said. “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.”

Lappos, under the pseudonym Alice Paul, first mentioned the incident on Facebook on Sunday in response to a post about the Flores accusations:

Biden did something similar to me at a fundraiser in Greenwich when I was a Congressional Aide. I’m really disappointed to see this post ask “thoughts” as if the grossness of men invading women’s boundaries to sniff and touch is is debatable. And shame on some of the women here excusing this as boys being boys or it’s not as bad as Trump.

I can speak from experience when I say it’s an incredibly uncomfortable situation and not at all acceptable.
We need to hold our men to the same standards we hold all men.

Joe Biden may have survived the Lucy Flores accusations from a few days ago, but a second accuser coming forward in the same week undoubtedly casts a bigger and darker cloud over Biden’s potential presidential bid. Biden is believed to be putting together a team for a presidential campaign but has not officially announced yet. Biden’s response to the Flores accusations was not so much a denial, but an excuse. “In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” he explained. “And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately.” Biden’s tendency to touch women and young girls inappropriately has been known in Washington for years, but is typically dismissed by the media as “Joe being Joe.” It is widely believed that Biden will not get a free pass if he jumps in the 2020 race.

Other 2020 Democrats are certainly not going to let these accusations go to waste. They’ve already pounced on the Flores accusation. In an interview on Face The Nation yesterday, Bernie Sanders said that he was “not sure that one incident alone disqualifies anybody.” That may be true, but what dozens of photos and videos circulating online for years have shown is that many women have been on the receiving end of Biden’s wandering hands and inappropriate behavior. Another accuser was bound to come forward eventually, and this new report could inspire more women to come forward.