It’s anyone’s guess whether, before next year’s presidential election, Donald J. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. will appear on the same platform to debate the great issues of the day. But they both are now on the same platform–right here.
Those of you who follow this space know that I have a long-running feature, “It Didn’t Stay Here.” It consists of stories about folks in trouble elsewhere for something that happened in Las Vegas. It’s a pointed refutation of “What Happens Here, Stays Here,” the well-known marketing slogan of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The full list is nearby.
In 2017, New to Las Vegas, I nominated Trump for the list after a 2013 video surfaced of him partying along the Strip with Russians and Rob Goldstone. He’s the British publicist who later set up the infamous June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., brother-in-law Jared Kushner, then Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a clutch of Russians supposedly bearing gifts in the form of Kremlin-sanctioned dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Vegas has a funny way of popping up at the most unexpected of times. On Friday, prominent Las Vegas politician Lucy Flores wrote an essay for the New York Magazine website “The Cut” saying then-Vice President Biden inappropriately smelled her hair and kissed her on the back of her head at a 2014 Democratic campaign rally in a Las Vegas union hall during her unsuccessful bid to be Nevada lieutenant governor. Biden “touched me in an intimate way reserved for close friends, family, or romantic partners—and I felt powerless to do anything about it,” she wrote. At the time Flores was 35 year old; Biden was 71. (Click here to see photos of the rally.)
This morning, two loooooong days later, Biden finally issued a statement best characterized as a non-denial denial.
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.
So Biden is now also a nominee for my list.
Democratic voters seem to be a little more sensitive on the issue of sexual harassment (see Franken, Al) than Republican voters (see Video, Access Hollywood). So it’s quite possible that Biden, who hasn’t even declared his candidacy, won’t run, and if he does, will lose the nomination to someone else. In which case this will be the only joint appearance of Biden and Trump on a platform. At least in Vegas.