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Second woman accuses Joe Biden of ‘unwanted touching’

A second woman has come forward to accuse former US vice president Joe Biden of "unwanted touching".

Amy Lappos, a former Democrat aide, said Mr Biden had acted inappropriately, touching her face with both hands and rubbing noses with her in 2009.

It followed allegations made by Lucy Flores, who wrote that Mr Biden kissed her on the back of the head in 2014 while she was running for a political position in Nevada as a Democrat.

Aides to Mr Biden say "right wing trolls" are behind a series of potentially damaging images appearing to show Mr Biden in a number of awkward situations to be posted on social media.

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In a statement, Biden spokesman Bill Russo blasted trolls from “the dark recesses of the internet” for conflating images of Mr Biden embracing acquaintances, colleagues and friends in his official capacity during swearing-in ceremonies with uninvited touching.

It came hours after Ms Lappos, a former aide to Democratic Representative Jim Hines of Connecticut, raised her concerns about Mr Biden's behaviour.

Lucy Flores has accused Joe Biden of inappropriately kissing her on the back of the head. Credit: Michelle Rindels/AP

Ms Lappos said that she and other Hines aides were helping out at a fundraiser in a private home in Hartford, Connecticut, in October 2009 when Mr Biden entered the kitchen to thank the group for pitching in.

“After he finished speaking, he stopped to talk to us about how important a congressional staff is, which I thought was awesome,” Ms Lappos said.

She said she was stunned as Mr Biden moved toward her.

“He wrapped both his hands around my face and pulled me in,” said Ms Lappos, who is now 43.

“I thought, ‘Oh, God, he’s going to kiss me’. Instead, he rubbed noses with me.”

Joe Biden has yet to declare whether he will run for president. Credit: AP

Mr Biden said nothing, she said, then moved off.

She said the experience left her feeling “weird and uncomfortable” and was “absolutely disrespectful of my personal boundaries”.

The Hartford Courant first reported Ms Lappos’ assertion.

Ms Lappos later responded to the "internet trolls" claims from the Biden camp, issuing a rebuttal on her Facebook page.

Joe Biden was being talked of as the man to take on Donald Trump in 2020. Credit: Niall Carson/PA

Mr Russo did not directly respond to Ms Lappos, instead referring to a Sunday statement in which Mr Biden said he does not believe he has acted inappropriately during his long public life.

The former vice president said in that statement: "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."

He went on: "We have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention.

“And I will.”

House speaker Nancy Pelosi says Biden could still run for president. Credit: AP

Mr Biden was being touted as the man to lead the Democrats in 2020 against President Donald Trump - himself no stranger to claims of inappropriate behaviour.

The allegations could leave the 76-year-old Mr Biden, long known for his affectionate mannerisms, appearing at odds with the party as the Democratic presidential primary begins.

Asked about the accusations against Mr Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “I don’t think that this disqualifies him from running for president, not at all.”

But Mr Biden’s potential Democratic rivals have not rushed to back him up.

Over the weekend, presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand came closest to calling out the former vice president.

Ms Warren said Mr Biden “needs to give an answer” about what occurred.

Ms Gillibrand said: “If Vice President Biden becomes a candidate, this is a topic he’ll have to engage on further.”

Ultraviolet, a women’s advocacy group, tweeted: “Joe Biden cannot paint himself as a champion of women and then refuse to listen and learn from a woman who says his actions demeaned her.

“Good intentions don’t matter if the actions are inappropriate.

“Do better, Joe. And thank you @LucyFlores for coming forward.”