"The View" co-host Abby Huntsman asked if society is getting to a place where people can't shake hands or hug each other following recent accusations that likely 2020 presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to provide update Monday on US response to omicron variant Restless progressives eye 2024 Emhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony MORE inappropriately touched a Nevada state lawmaker at an event in 2014 while he was vice president.
"Are we going to get to a place where we can't shake hands?" she asked on Monday during a discussion of the accusations made by former Nevada Democratic Assemblywoman Lucy Flores. "[Where] we can't hug each other?"
Huntsman, who joined "The View" in 2018 after several years at Fox News, also broached Flores's motive in bringing up the incident now, as Biden reportedly gets close to launching his 2020 presidential bid.
"I do wonder if she could have sent him a letter," Huntsman said. "Send him a personal note to say, 'Hey, this happened a few years ago. Now I feel confident in telling you about it. I don't want to make this public.' I always wonder when these things come out, what is the motive for this person? Is it simply to let people know that I was uncomfortable, which you could have done in private? Or is it because you want someone else to win?"
After co-hosts Joy Behar, Meghan McCain and Sonny Hostin defended Biden on the ABC show, moderator Whoopi Goldberg echoed Huntsman's sentiment around confronting Biden privately instead of going public with her claims.
“For me, these things are not Democratic or Republican,” Goldberg said. “I want women to get to the place where they can say, ‘Hey, you just made me uncomfortable.’ This idea that you have to tiptoe away from this, you do not have to carry it. If someone makes you uncomfortable, tell them," she said to applause.
"You have to stop mischaracterizing stuff. Don’t sit and wait and say ‘I’m uncomfortable’ on national television," she added. "Because it makes us suspect of your thoughts."
Flores wrote in an op-ed for The Cut last week that Biden made her deeply uncomfortable by sniffing her hair and kissing the back of her head at a campaign event while she was running for lieutenant governor in Nevada.
"I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified," she wrote. "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?'"
"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," she added.
Biden has staunchly denied Flores's claim that 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. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention,” Biden said in a statement on Sunday.
The former vice president, 76, who is expected to announce his 2020 presidential campaign in the coming weeks, leads in most polls of Democratic primary candidates.