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Joe Biden touched a Connecticut woman inappropriately at a 2009 fundraiser, including rubbing noses with her, the woman said Monday, days after another woman said the ex–vice president gave her an unwanted kiss on the back of her head in 2014.
“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,” Amy Lappos told the Hartford Courant.
“It wasn’t sexual,” she added.
Lappos said she met Biden at an October 2009 fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut, for U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat. Lappos was a congressional aide to Himes at the time, and said she was in the kitchen with other volunteers when Biden approached her. There are three photos that show Lappos with Biden at the event, the Courant reported, though they were taken before the nose-rubbing incident.
“I never filed a complaint, to be honest, because he was the vice president. I was a nobody,” Lappos told the Courant. “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.”
On Friday, the Nevada woman, a former legislator named Lucy Flores, then 34, said she and Biden were about to go onstage at a 2014 campaign rally, when he smelled her hair and then kissed the back of her head. Flores’ story has unleashed a wave of questions about Biden’s habit of touching women in public, and whether that habit may end up disqualifying him as a viable 2020 candidate for president.
Himes told the Courant that he was not prepared to immediately comment. A spokesperson for 78-year-old Biden didn’t respond to Lappos’ specific allegation but rather gave the Courant the same statement that Biden released after Flores’ allegation.
“I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately,” Biden said. “If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
Cover: Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)