Biden Denies Tara Reade Sexual Assault Allegations: ‘It Never Happened’
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski pressed former Vice President Joe Biden on the seeming double standard he was promoting by encouraging victims of sexual violence to come forward while brushing off an allegation against him.
A former Senate aide, Tara Reade, claimed that the presumptive Democratic nominee sexually assaulted her in 1993 — a charge that Biden flat out denied on Friday.
“I’m saying unequivocally: It never, never happened,” he said. “And it didn’t. It never happened.”
He then invited reporters to look through the National Archives to see if a complaint was ever filed against him, something which Reade says she did.
“No one ever brought it to the attention of me 27 years ago … No one that I’m aware of in my campaign—excuse me, in my Senate office at the time—is aware of any such request. And—or of any such complaint,” he said. “And so I’m not worried about it at all. If there is a complaint, that’s where it would be [in the National Archives], and that’s where it would be filed. And if it’s there, put it out, but I have never seen it. No one has that I’m aware of.”
“For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time,” Biden said of Ford in 2018.
Brzezinski then asked Biden why Reade was making the accusation — coming forward to a large audience much like Ford did.
“I’m not going to question her motive, I’m not going to get into that at all,” Biden said. “I don’t know why these she’s saying this. I don’t know why after 27 years all of a sudden this gets raised. I don’t understand that. But I’m not going to go in and question her motive. I’m not going to attack her. She has a right to say whatever she wants to say. But I have a right to say, look at the facts, check it out. Find out if what any of what she says is true.”
Brzezinski followed up, emphasizing the potential hypocrisy of lauding Ford for speaking out but rejecting Reade’s allegation.
“As it pertained to Dr. Ford, high-level Democrats said she should be believed, that they believed it happened,” Brzezinski said. “You said, if someone like Dr. Ford were to come out, the essence of what she is saying has to be believed, has to be real. Why? Why? Why is it real for Dr. Ford, but not for Tara Reade?”
Biden responded that women should come forward “but only the truth matters.”
“I’m not suggesting she had no right to come forward,” Biden said. “Any woman, they should come forward, they should be heard. And then it should be investigated. And if there’s anything that is consistent with what’s being said, and she makes the case or the case is made, then it should be believed. But only the truth matters.”
He later added that allegations should be presumed truthful until thoroughly investigated.
“Look, women are to be believed, given the benefit of the doubt,” Biden said. “If they come forward and say something that they said happened to them, they should start off with the presumption that they’re telling the truth. Then you have to look at the circumstances and the facts. And the facts in this case do not exist. They never happened.”