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Never acted inappropriately: Biden

An ex-lawmaker had said he made inappropriate contact with her in 2014

Former U.S. Vice-President Joseph R. Biden directly responded on Sunday to Friday’s accusations from former Nevada lawmaker Lucy Flores that he had made inappropriate physical contact with her in 2014, making her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused”.

“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” Mr. Biden said via a statement.

“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.”

Ms. Flores told CNN that Mr. Biden’s personal statement was “certainly better” than his spokesperson’s prior statement on Mr. Biden’s behalf, which, while denying that he or his staffers had any recollection of the event or knowledge of Ms. Flores’s discomfort, acknowledged her right to share her recollections.

However, Ms. Flores added: “Frankly, my point was never about his intentions, and they shouldn’t be about his intentions. It should be about the women on the receiving end of that behaviour.”

“I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear. But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention. And I will,” Mr. Biden’s statement read.

Advocate for women

The former Vice-President, who is expected to announce a 2020 bid for the White House in a few weeks, said he would continue to “remain the strongest advocate” for women and will work with women who challenge him to see perspectives different from his own.

Asked about the timing of her accusation, Ms. Flores, who had endorsed Mr. Sanders in 2016 and was a Board member at a Sanders-affiliated advocacy group, told CNN Mr. Biden’s conduct was “something that we should consider when we are talking about the background of a person who is considering running for President.”

A number of memes and montages of Mr. Biden’s interactions and physical approach with women had emerged online. One such image was of Mr. Biden’s interaction with Stephanie Carter, wife of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, at Mr. Carter’s swearing in ceremony in 2015, which resembled Mr. Biden’s alleged interaction with Ms. Flores, from Ms. Flores’s description of the interaction.

‘Not my story’

Ms. Carter wrote a blog post on medium.com, saying the photo had been misinterpreted. She also said she was for Ms. Flores’s “right to spear her truth” and that Ms. Flores and “all women” should be believed but that “her [Ms. Flores’s] story is not mine…”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is making a bid for the White House next year, said he had no reason to not believe Ms. Flores, but did not say the allegations disqualified Mr. Biden from running for office.

“I think that’s a decision for the Vice-President to make. I’m not sure that one incident alone disqualifies anybody.”

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