Over the weekend, Former Nevada assemblywoman Lucy Flores accused former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate behavior at a campaign rally in 2014.
VP Biden had come to Nevada to help boost voter turnout for Flores, and just before she took the stage, Flores claims that Biden placed his hands on her shoulders from behind, smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head. MSNBC has not confirmed Flores’ account of event.
“For me, in this situation, it was unwanted,” Flores told MSNBC's Hallie Jackson. “It was shocking because of the power difference. Context is also important here.”
Flores has also said she does not consider the incident to be sexual harassment but an invasion of personal privacy.
“"This type of behavior, while it ... doesn't rise to the level of sexual assault, and it doesn't rise to a severity in which we are often times hearing about various violations to your body, we don't take, often times, this lower level of invasion of space and touchings of your body — unwanted touchings of your body — in the exact same kind of seriousness in which we do the other type of behaviors," Flores said.
In a statement, VP Biden addressed his “countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort” in both his personal and professional life, and said he would pay attention to women speaking about their experiences.
“Not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately,” the statement read. “If it suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
Flores said she has not heard from VP Biden or his team, and that she would like to. She said the issue is about power and understanding that VP Biden was, at the time, the second most powerful man in the United States, while she was a candidate for state office.
“There was nothing that … any person would consider normal in that interaction,” Flores said. “So, yes, it made me feel like I couldn’t do anything to stop it.”