Joe Biden was expected to enter the 2020 presidential race soon but instead the former vice president finds himself battling allegations from two women who say he touched them inappropriately, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't appear to believe is a big deal.
“No. No, I do not,” Pelosi said Monday when asked by reporters whether she believes the allegations should disqualify him from the 2020 race, The Hill reports.
“I don’t think that this disqualifies him from being president,” she said. “Not at all.”
Nevada state assemblywoman Lucy Flores (D) was the first woman to come forward, claiming that that Biden touched her inappropriately and kissed her on the back of the head.
She wrote about the incident in an op-ed published Friday.
"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," she wrote.
Biden issued a response to that allegation, saying in his many years in public service he has never believed he “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. And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately,” he said. “If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
A second woman—Amy Lappos, a former congressional aide to Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) —came forward on Monday, accusing Biden of inappropriately rubbing noses with her during a fundraiser in 2009.
"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,” she told the Hartford Courant. "It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head.”
She claimed she never filed a complaint because of the power imbalance.
"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."