As the list of women coming forward with #MeToo claims against 'creepy' Joe Biden grows (we're up to four now, including a survivor of sexual assault), the New York Times reports that the 76-year-old politician's "tactile style" may put a damper on his 2020 ambitions in the #MeToo era.
The four women who have come forward detailing their uncomfortable Biden encounters are;
- Lucy Flores, 39, who accused Biden of grabbing her shoulders during a 2014 political event, pulling her towards him, 'inhaling' her hair, and planting a "big slow kiss" on the back of her head.
- Amy Lappos, 43, who accused Biden of touching her inappropriately at 2009 fundraiser when she was a congressional aide to Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT)
- Caitlyn Caruso, a 22-year-old survivor of sexual assault who told the New York Times that Biden "rested his hand on her thigh - even as she squirmed in her seat to show her discomfort," three years ago, before hugging her "just a little bit too long."
- D.J. Hill, a 59-year-old writer who recalled a 2012 encounter at a Minneapolis fundraiser where Biden "put his hand on her shoulder and then started dropping it down her back, which made her “very uncomfortable.”" according to The Times.
While Biden's decades of creepy behavior has been well documented - and ridiculed over the years by late night comics and Saturday Night Live - everything changed after the October 2017 revelation that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had allegedly molested dozens of women.
The scandal sparked the #MeToo movement of women coming forward with stories of sexual assault - while feminists across the country made clear that unwanted male advances and condescending 'mansplaining' would no longer be tolerated.
Given the new environment, Biden's once-ridiculed conduct has become serious and 'problematic' (as they say), as video after video of the former Vice President molesting women and children provides a montage of the very 'toxic masculinity' that social justice warriors have spent the last two years condemning.
Sittin' here like a loaded gun— Rudy Havenstein, Skeptic (@RudyHavenstein) April 3, 2019
I'm waiting to go off pic.twitter.com/JuKbdN65y2
And as Paul Joseph Watson of Summit News notes (PJW's new venture), Biden's adversaries, namely the Great America PAC, have already turned his grabby gaffes into a political advertisement.
Of note, the Great America PAC has put MSM journalists on notice and are "geared up for any nonsense to come" from reporters who peddled the Russiagate narrative before Trump was cleared of collusion by special counsel Robert Mueller.
"Any reporter who tries that will be hit with 30-second spots of all their ridiculous claims about collusion," one source told The Atlantic on condition of anonymity. "Their tweets have all been screencapped. It’s all ready to go."
President Trump mocked Biden during Tuesday night's National Republican Congressional Committee Annual Spring Dinner:
Biden's defenders - including actress Alyssa Milano, who went from "Believe all women" to "Cut Joe some slack" - have mounted a vigorous defense of the former Vice President.
For starters, a Democratic source told the Daily Beast that Biden's camp thinks Bernie Sanders is behind the new campaign - a charge the Sanders campaign has denied.
"Neither the Bernie Sanders campaign nor anyone involved in it, planted, planned, persuaded, cajoled or otherwise urged Lucy Flores or anyone else to tell their story. Full stop, period, end of sentence. I don’t want to hear it. We didn’t play a role," said Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir.
"But this is why my blood boils," Shakir added. "We have heard through innuendo and rumors that somehow this campaign was involved in Lucy Flores telling her story and it is deeply disrespectful and shameful that any time a woman comes forward to tell her story there has to be some kind of intimation or suggestion that that person is doing so out of some political agenda and or that the person may be lying… It is shameful."
One Democratic operative in touch with Biden’s team said that aides “were ready for this,” since photos and videos of Biden walking up to, if not skirting, these lines have been publicized in the past. “But living it is a lot different than thinking it will come out,” the operative added. “Seeing the stories live is different than hearing, ‘Oh yeah, everyone has a Biden story.’”
Faced with these stories, Biden’s team has pivoted—operating much more as an actual campaign than a campaign in waiting, both practically and tonally. An email was circulated among the Biden faithful on Monday urging them to push back on any insinuation this will impact his decision making, after it took over 24 hours for the vice president to make an initial statement following the Friday allegation.
Some of the push-back has happened organically, however. Over his decades in public office, Biden employed numerous top female aides, many of whom have gone on to take top roles in women’s advocacy organizations and political operations. Those alumni quickly began putting out statements and testimonials vouching for Biden’s integrity and trumpeting the work he has done on women’s issues, most notably the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. -Daily Beast
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), meanwhile, said this week that accusations of inappropriate molestation levied against former Vice President Joe Biden do "not at all" disqualify him from seeking the presidency in 2020.
Pelosi on Tuesday told Politico Playbook that Biden's intention should be the determining factor.
JAKE SHERMAN: You’ve known Joe Biden for thirty-something years, right? What is your reaction to these allegations? Now there’s two people who have said he made them feel uncomfortable. Is it disqualifying and what is your reaction to that?
NANCY PELOSI: I don’t think it’s disqualifying because I think disqualifying is what your intention is. I do think this about communication, in general, beyond this. I’m a member of the straight-arm club. I’m a straight arm-er. I just pretend you have a cold and I have a cold. But, I think that it’s important for the vice president and others to understand is it isn’t what you intended, it’s how it was received
Pelosi added that her grandchildren "love Joe Biden," adding "He's an affectionate person to children, to senior citizens, to everyone. That's just the way he is."
"Just the way he is" indeed...