Former Colorado Gov. and current Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper said Wednesday that he will support presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden for president, even though he believes the sexual assault allegation against the former vice president is true “to a large extent.”
In his second debate this week against his Democratic primary opponent, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, Mr. Hickenlooper was asked whether he believed the allegations by Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer who accused then-Sen. Biden of pinning her against a wall and digitally penetrating her without her consent in his Senate office in 1993.
At least six people have corroborated parts of Ms. Reade’s story since she first spoke out on March 25, but Mr. Biden has vehemently denied the claims.
During Wednesday’s debate, Mr. Hickenlooper commended Ms. Reade for coming forward and said she deserved to be believed.
“Well, first, let me say that any woman who comes forward and talks about the sexual assault that they’ve had to endure, they deserve to be listened to and they deserve to be believed,” he said. “And I look at Tara Reade as someone who has shown a great deal of courage to come forward and talk about what happened to her.
“It’s standard that you go through a process of vetting and examination of these types of allegations, and this is certainly a very complicated case,” he added. “In the end, I still support Joe Biden for president, absolutely.”
The moderator asked the former governor to clarify his answer.
“Yes or no, do you believe her allegations? Do you believe Tara Reade?” the moderator asked.
“To a large extent, yes,” responded Mr. Hickenlooper, who ended his own presidential campaign last summer.
Mr. Romanoff said he also supports Mr. Biden for president but didn’t say whether he believed Ms. Reade’s claims, Breitbart reported.