The former vice president is accused of acting improperly toward a female Nevada state assemblywoman in 2014. Stephanie Carter, the wife of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, attempted to “reclaim” a “misleadingly removed” yet frequently parodied photograph of her and Joe Biden on Sunday.
The picture shows Biden standing behind Stephanie Carter and talking into her ear while his hands rest on her shoulders. It was taken at the White House in February 2015 during Ash Carter’s swearing-in ceremony to lead the Pentagon.
The incident reminds Lucy Flores of what she claims happened at a Las Vegas event five years prior when Biden allegedly leaned in to sniff her hair and gave her an “awkward kiss” on the back of her head. At the time, Flores was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Nevada.
These allegations, which Flores made in an essay that was published on Friday in The Cut, have cast doubt on Biden’s political viability in the MeToo era and his potential 2020 presidential campaign. They have also stoked new concerns among Democrats about his frequently sentimental interactions with voters and government officials over a half-century of public service.
However, Carter said in a blog post posted on Medium on Sunday that she appreciated Biden’s show of care for her in 2015 when she was “uncharacteristically nervous” after sliding on some ice on the way to the Pentagon that morning.
“Thank you for letting him do this,” he leaned in to say to me after the swearing-in, Carter wrote. He also kept his hands on my shoulders to show his support. However, a still image from a video that was misleadingly taken from a longer exchange between close friends and sent out in a caustic tweet became the iconic representation of that day.
Carter claimed that she and her husband had known Jill Biden and Joe Biden “for many years, long before he had become vice president,” and she had sent the pair her sympathies on how the incident had been covered by the media.
I told them I felt terrible that his attempt to support me had devolved into a joke and even more — purported proof positive that he didn’t understand how to respect women after he had kindly taken time out of his day to swear in an old buddy, Carter wrote. “I reasoned that if I didn’t respond in a dignified manner, it would all blow over. However, it was wishful thinking.
Carter added that Flores and “all women” should be believed even though she does not personally know Flores and supports “her right to speak her truth.”
“However, her tale is not mine. I will always be grateful to Joe Biden, who is depicted in my photo as a close friend helping someone get through a difficult day, Carter stated. Therefore, I must recover my tale from third parties, Twitter, pundits, and late-night shows as the sole owner of it.
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