Alyssa Milano and Meghan McCain React to Joe Biden Being Accused of Inappropriate Behavior
By Antoinette Bueno
Alyssa Milano and Meghan McCain are coming to Joe Biden's defense after two women have accused the former vice president of the United States of touching them in a way that made them feel uncomfortable.
In an essay published by The Cut on Friday, Nevada assemblywoman Lucy Flores claimed that Biden gave her a kiss on the back of her head during a 2014 campaign event that wasn't welcomed. On Monday, a second woman, Amy Lappos, came forward with accusations against Biden, claiming to The Hartford Courant that during a 2009 political fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut, the politician rubbed noses with her, which made her feel disrespected.
Biden, who's speculated to be considering a presidential bid in 2020, responded to increased scrutiny on his interactions with women with a statement on Sunday, and said he believes he never acted inappropriately.
"In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort," the statement reads. "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."
On Monday, Milano took to Twitter and showed her support for the 76-year-old politician, pointing out his work on behalf of sexual assault victims. In 2014, Biden led the "It's on Us" campaign, which was designed to prevent sexual assault at colleges and universities, change the culture on campuses and better engage men in the effort.
"I am proud to call Joe Biden a friend," she wrote. "He has been a leader and a champion on fighting violence against women for many years, and I have been fortunate to accompany him to events with survivors where he has listened to their stories, empathized with them, and comforted them. That's who Joe Biden is -- a warm, generous individual who believes its on all of us to pay attention to women's stories and experiences."
"Joe Biden’s response that he never meant to make anyone uncomfortable and that he'll listen and learn from anyone who says otherwise is exactly the leadership we need to build a culture where women are heard and are equal," she continued. "I respect Lucy Flores' decision to share her story and agree with Biden that we all must pay attention to it. But, just as we must believe women that decide to come forward, we cannot assume all women's experiences are the same. I believe that Joe Biden's intent has never been to make anyone uncomfortable, and that his kind, empathetic leadership is what our country needs. Especially now."
I am proud to call Joe Biden a friend. He has been a leader and a champion on fighting violence against women for many years, and I have been fortunate to accompany him to events with survivors where he has listened to their stories, empathized with them, and comforted them. pic.twitter.com/cI0jsKlu3P
"Joe Biden is one of the truly decent and compassionate men in all of American politics," The View co-host wrote. "He has helped me through my fathers diagnosis, treatment and ultimate passing more than anyone of my fathers friends combined. I wish there was more empathy from our politicians not less."
Joe Biden is one of the truly decent and compassionate men in all of American politics. He has helped me through my fathers diagnosis, treatment and ultimate passing more than anyone of my fathers friends combined. I wish there was more empathy from our politicians not less.
In Flores' essay, she wrote that while her encounter with Biden didn't rise to the level of sexual assault, it still made her feel "powerless."
"I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze," Flores wrote. "Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me? I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, 'I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual f**k? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?' He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused. There is a Spanish saying, 'tragame tierra,' it means, 'earth, swallow me whole.' I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me."
" ... He stopped treating me like a peer the moment he touched me," she continued. "Even if his behavior wasn’t violent or sexual, it was demeaning and disrespectful. I wasn’t attending the rally as his mentee or even his friend; I was there as the most qualified person for the job. ... The vice-president of the United States of America had just touched me in an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners -- and I felt powerless to do anything about it."
Meanwhile, Lappos accused Biden of crossing the "line of respect."
"It wasn't sexual, but he did grab me by the head," Lappos said of their encounter. "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."
"I never filed a complaint, to be honest, because he was the vice president. I was a nobody," she continued. "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."