Meghan McCain and Alyssa Milano Come to Joe Biden's Defense Following Second Accusation
On Monday, Connecticut native Amy Lappos came forward to The Hartford Courant, claiming that the potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate grabbed her head and rubbed his nose on hers during a political fundraiser 10 years ago.
Lappos is the second woman to accuse Biden of inappropriate behavior. Lucy Flores, a former Nevada politician, also recently alleged that Biden touched her shoulders without consent. Biden, 76, has since denied those allegations.
Biden has not addressed the Lappos’ accusations and a representative for the politician did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Late Monday, McCain and Milano came to the defense of Biden in respective tweets and argued that his intentions were “never meant to make anyone uncomfortable” as he is “one of the truly decent and compassionate men in all of American politics.”
Milano’s messages came in a thread of six tweets, beginning with a photo of the pair together.
“I am proud to call Joe Biden a friend,” she wrote. “He has been a leader and a champion on fighting violence against women for many years, and I have been fortunate to accompany him to events with survivors where he has listened to their stories, empathized with them, and comforted them.”
Milano then went on to highlight Biden’s character as a “warm, generous individual” and touched upon his work with the “It’s On Us” social movement, which raises awareness against sexual assault and encourages bystander invention.
“Biden started Its On Us because he believes to meaningfully change our culture,” she wrote, adding that he strongly believed “everyone needed to be part of the movement.”
“Joe Biden’s response that he never meant to make anyone uncomfortable and that he’ll listen and learn from anyone who says otherwise is exactly the leadership we need to build a culture where women are heard and are equal,” Milano added.
Though the actress acknowledged her respect for Flores and her decision to come forward with her story, she noted, “we cannot assume all women’s experiences are the same.”
“I believe that Joe Biden’s intent has never been to make anyone uncomfortable, and that his kind, empathetic leadership is what our country needs. Especially now,” Milano finished.
A few hours later, McCain, 34, spoke out about the allegations in her own tweet and explained that Biden had served as a mentor to her, especially during her late father John McCain‘s battle with brain cancer.
“Joe Biden is one of the truly decent and compassionate men in all of American politics,” she tweeted. “He has helped me through my father’s diagnosis, treatment and ultimate passing more than anyone of my father’s friends combined.”
“I wish there was more empathy from our politicians not less,” The View co-host added.
In an article penned by Flores and published by The Cut last Friday, Flores said the alleged incident between her and Biden occurred in 2014, when she was 35 years old and running for lieutenant governor in Nevada.
Biden, then the vice president, went to a campaign rally in November of that year to support Flores and other fellow Democrats running for office in the state.
As speakers at the rally lined up backstage before the event, Flores said she felt Biden touch both of her shoulders and kiss her on the back of the head.
“As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders,” Flores wrote. “I froze. ‘Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?’ “
“I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair,” she continued. “I was mortified. I thought to myself, ‘I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual f—? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?’”
Flores added: “He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused.”
Flores wrote in her piece that, as a young Latina in the political world, she was used to feeling like an “outsider” in rooms that predominantly featured white men, but up until her alleged encounter with Biden, “had never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before.”
“Biden was the second-most powerful man in the country and, arguably, one of the most powerful men in the world,” Flores continued. “He was there to promote me as the right person for the lieutenant governor job. Instead, he made me feel uneasy, gross, and confused. 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.”
Flores acknowledged that what Biden did was not illegal, but rather discussed the incident in the context of an “imbalance of power.”
“I’m not suggesting that Biden broke any laws, but the transgressions that society deems minor (or doesn’t even see as transgressions) often feel considerable to the person on the receiving end,” she ended the piece. “That imbalance of power and attention is the whole point — and the whole problem.”
In response to her claims, Biden spoke out in a statement to NBC News in which he admitted to public “expressions of affection,” but nothing more.
“In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort,” Biden said. “And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention. I may not recall these moments the same way, and I may be surprised at what I hear.”
The former Delaware senator continued by saying he will “remain the strongest advocate” he can be for women’s rights.
“But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention,” he said. “And I will. I will also remain the strongest advocate I can be for the rights of women. I will fight to build on the work I’ve done in my career to end violence against women and ensure women are treated with the equality they deserve.”
“I will continue to surround myself with trusted women advisers who challenge me to see different perspectives than my own. And I will continue to speak out on these vitally-important issues where there is much more progress to be made and crucial fights that must be waged and won,” he added.
“I’ll be as straight with you as I can: I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president,” he said during a December appearance at the University of Montana. “The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse, that I’ve worked on my whole life.”