During an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden denied sexual assault allegations made against him by former Senate aide Tara Reade.
Biden also released a statement denying Reade’s allegations.
“While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated,” Biden said in his statement. “One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.
“Responsible news organizations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways,” he added. “But this much bears emphasizing. She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They — both men and a woman — have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organizations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one — not one — who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way — as indeed I would not have.”
The Washington Post reports: Biden’s campaign had previously denied the allegations by Reade, who worked in Biden’s Senate office for nine months ending in 1993. But for weeks, the former vice president had been silent about her accusation. This week, demands from within his party to address it grew louder, and with each public appearance came scrutiny that began to eclipse the ideas and themes he was trying to promote. Democratic and Republican leaders also came under intensifying calls to weigh in, triggering an explosive and often partisan debate. For many Democrats, the allegation was an uncomfortable topic that forced them to try to reconcile their support for Biden with advocacy for many women who come forward with claims of sexual assault against powerful men. For some top Republicans, it was occasion to accuse Democrats of a double standard. Trump, Biden’s expected general election opponent, said Thursday that Biden “should respond” to the accusation, which Trump said he “didn’t know anything about.” The president suggested that Reade’s account could be a “false accusation,” a topic he said he knew well. More than 20 women have accused the president of sexual misconduct over the years, prompting a series of denials.