STORM LAKE, Ia. — Democrats running for president weighed in on allegations that former vice president Joe Biden inappropriately touched a woman in 2014, saying Saturday at a candidate event in Storm Lake, Iowa that they believe the woman.
“I believe Lucy Flores,” said Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “And Joe Biden needs to give an answer.”
Flores, a former Nevada state assemblywoman, published an essay in New York Magazine’s The Cut this week. She described a moment in 2014 when she was 35 and the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Nevada. She said Biden was there to support her campaign and approached her as she was preparing to speak at a campaign rally.
“As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze,” Flores wrote. “… I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. … He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head.”
Asked whether Biden should choose not to run for president, given the allegation, Warren said, “That’s for Joe Biden to decide.”
Biden has been weighing a run for president in 2020 but has yet to announce his decision.
“Neither then, nor in the years since, did he or the staff with him at the time have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes,” the statement said.
Warren made the remarks to reporters following her appearance Saturday at a forum in Storm Lake. Other candidates in attendance also responded to reporters’ questions about Biden.
“I believe Lucy Flores. I believe that the vice president put a statement out today on that,” former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro told reporters. “And we need to live in a nation where people can hear her truth.”
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“Do you think it disqualifies him for the presidency?” a reporter asked.
“He’s going to decide whether he’s going to run or not and then the American people, if he does, will decide whether they support him or not,” Castro said.
John Delaney, the former U.S. congressman from Maryland, said he had not yet read the full details of Flores’ allegation.
“I’ve heard about them. I don’t know the details,” he said. “I have no reason to doubt the woman, who I think was a state representative or ran for lieutenant governor.”
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar also said she had not read the essay and did not have anything to add.
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