Then-Vice President Joe Biden and Stephanie Carter in the viral image. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Former Vice President Joe Biden, facing scrutiny for his public displays of affection with women after an allegation of inappropriate conduct, was defended Sunday by a woman whose image with him went viral.
In a Medium post titled "'The #MeToo Story That Wasn’t Me," Stephanie Carter said the image of Biden's embrace of her from behind as she watched her husband, Ash Carter, being sworn in as then-President Barack Obama's defense secretary in 2015 was "misleadingly extracted from what was a longer moment between close friends."
Details: Referring to the image that went viral again this week in her post as "that picture," Carter wrote, " The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful." She explained she had slipped on snow that day and was feeling nervous at the swearing-in ceremony:
By the time then-Vice President Biden had arrived, he could sense I was uncharacteristically nervous- and quickly gave me a hug. After the swearing in, as Ash was giving remarks, he leaned in to tell me “thank you for letting him do this” and kept his hands on my shoulders as a means of offering his support. But a still shot taken from a video — misleadingly extracted from what was a longer moment between close friends — sent out in a snarky tweet — came to be the lasting image of that day.
The backdrop: Nevada Democrat Lucy Flores alleged that Biden leaned in to smell her hair at a campaign event and kissed her on the head at a campaign event in 2014. Biden said in response he did not believe he had acted inappropriately.
The latest: Flores said in an interview on MSNBC with host Kasie Hunt was not alleging Biden sexually assaulted her. "It is an invasion of my personal space," Flores said. "It is a clear a clear invasion of my bodily autonomy to not be touched, unless I give you permission to touch it."