The New York Times reported yesterday that two more women have stepped forward and accused Joe Biden of inappropriately touching them. One is a sexual assault survivor, and one is a writer who said her alleged incident happened at a 2012 fundraiser.
From the report:
The list of women coming forward is growing. Caitlyn Caruso, a former college student and sexual assault survivor, said Mr. Biden rested his hand on her thigh — even as she squirmed in her seat to show her discomfort — and hugged her “just a little bit too long” at an event on sexual assault at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She was 19.
Ms. Caruso, now 22, said she chalked up the encounter at the time to how men act, and did not say anything publicly. But she said it was particularly uncomfortable because she had just shared her own story of sexual assault and had expected Mr. Biden — an architect of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act — to understand the importance of physical boundaries.
D. J. Hill, 59, a writer who recalled meeting Mr. Biden in 2012 at a fund-raising event in Minneapolis, said that when she and her husband, Robert, stepped up to take their photograph with the vice president, he put his hand on her shoulder and then started dropping it down her back, which made her “very uncomfortable.”
Her husband, seeing the movement, put his hand on Mr. Biden’s shoulder and interrupted with a joke. Ms. Hill did not say anything at the time and acknowledged that she does not know what Mr. Biden’s intention was or whether he was aware of her discomfit.
These accusations come on the heels of two others, both from Democratic women who said Biden touched them inappropriately at campaign events. On Friday, former Nevada Democratic Lt. Gov nominee Lucy Flores described an alleged incident where Biden came up behind her unexpectedly, put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair, and kissed her hair. Democrat Amy Lappos came forward with her own story just a few days later.
The Times piece pointed out some high-profile women on both the left and right have spoken out in defense of Biden in the aftermath of the allegations that have been made against him. But Hot Air‘s John Sexton made a good counterpoint to this argument yesterday, I think:
Clearly, people close to him think Biden can be a warm person. But the fact that his friends find his empathy and physical touch a positive does not mean that relative strangers like Lucy Flores or Caitlyn Caruso necessarily feel the same way. Biden’s intent may be to offer grandfatherly encouragement, but he’s not every woman’s grandfather. By acting as if he is, he’s crossing a line with people he does not know. So far, four of those people have come forward but I have no doubt there are more who haven’t spoken up yet. Biden has been doing this a long time.
Not only that, but just because there was no ill-intent towards one woman doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t there with another. As I’ve said previously, there’s not a woman in America who hasn’t experienced what Flores and Lappos [and Hill and Caruso] have described as going through. The handsy aspects. The invasion of personal space. Feeling a co-worker’s breath on your hair or neck or cheek as they unexpectedly lean in closer. These allegations will resonate with women who know how it feels to be in these situations.
Geraldo Rivera has some good advice for Biden going forward: “You don’t sniff a stranger unless you’re a dog.”
Watch an August 2016 report from CNN on Biden’s handsy nature at various events. “There’s nothing pervy here,” asserted CNN‘s Jeanne Moos at the time.
—Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–