Biden Declares Sexual Assault 'Never, Never Happened'
WASHINGTON: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden On Friday, he emphatically denied accusations by a former Senate staff member that he sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s, stating flatly that `` this never happened. ''
Biden's first public comments on the former employee's indictment come at a critical time for the alleged Democratic candidate, as he tries to ease mounting pressure after weeks of leaving denials to his campaign.
`` I say that unequivocally, it never, ever happened, '' the former vice president and senator said in an interview on MSNBC's `` Morning Joe. ''
Biden said he will ask the National Archives to determine if there is any record of a complaint filed, as Reade has claimed. Later on Friday, Biden asked the Senate secretary by letter to assist him in the search, although he told MSNBC that the Archives was the only possible place where a complaint would be filed. He said his senate documents under seal at the University of Delaware do not contain personnel records.
`` The former employee said she filed a complaint in 1993, '' said Biden. `` But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint. ''
Reade did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
The Archives diverted inquiries to the Capitol, saying any complaints `` would have remained under the control of the Senate. '' A spokeswoman for the Congressional Labor Rights Office said confidentiality rules prevent the office from commenting `` whether or not specific claims may not have been filed. ''
Biden, in his television interview, said there are so many inconsistencies in Reade's various accounts. But he said he does not `` question his motive. '' He said that during his five decades in public life, none of his employees was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Republicans concerned about the president Donald trump The increasingly precarious political position is becoming the only defense for women who allege irregularities against conservatives. They are investigating despite the possibility of renewing attention to the multiple sexual assault allegations brought against Trump, who denies the allegations.
In light of his own situation, Trump is taking delicate steps around the Biden controversy.
`` He will have to make his own decision, '' Trump said in a podcast interview on Friday with Dan Bongino. `` I am not going to tell you what to do. '' The president added that it would be a `` great thing '' if Biden had records that could `` get rid '' of Reade's accusation.
Democrats, meanwhile, are in an awkward position to validate women presenting their stories while defending their flag bearer before an expected competitive election.
Former Democratic Party President Donna Brazile said before the Biden interview that her silence was `` harmful, '' but later said she handled the matter well.
`` He responded, denied it, and there is nothing more to add, '' Brazile said, before hinting at Reade's repeated public statements. `` If you add to the story the way Tara Reade does it, it just brings more confusion. ''
Karen Finney, who worked for Hillary clinton In 2016, he described Biden as `` very clear and consistent '' and `` sincere, '' but said he should have arrived `` a little earlier. ''
The November presidential election will be the first of the MeToo era (hash), during which numerous women have publicly revealed experiences of sexual harassment and assault.
Women are a central constituency for Democrats. Biden wrote the Violence Against Women Act as a senator, but was criticized for his handling of Anita Hill's 1991 Senate testimony against now Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Just before launching his 2020 campaign, Biden apologized after several women said he had made them feel uncomfortable with unwanted touches.
He has vowed to choose a woman as a career partner, and Reade's indictment has left those believed to be in conflict in a difficult situation.
Some of them have echoed the talking points the Biden campaign issued to the surrogates last week that were obtained by The Associated Press. The campaign noted investigations by The New York Times, The Washington Post and AP that found no other allegation of sexual assault against Biden and any pattern of sexual misconduct.
Some Democratic donors say the issue has not come up in recent strategy calls. Others worry that it will be used against Biden, as Republicans insisted in 2016 on Clinton's private email server and the activities of the Clinton Foundation.
`` We know they are going to test elements of the same playbook, '' Finney said, signaling calls for Biden to release his Senate documents.
Other Democratic agents expressed concern that the indictment complicates Biden's central argument: that he provides a moral counterattack to Trump.
``I think we have to apply a consistent standard for how we treat allegations of sexual assault, and also be clear-eyed about how Donald trump will use these allegations,'' said Claire Sandberg, who worked as Bernie Sanders 'organizing director.
Republicans have taken advantage of the possibilities to trace Biden's records, showing aggressiveness that was more difficult for them four years ago, while Trump had to deny different levels of assault and sexual harassment.
Trump joined his Republican colleagues in arguing Friday that Democrats are not consistent, again pointing to the aggressive questioning of the Supreme Court nominee when faced with an accusation of sexual assault.
Biden rejected those notions on Friday during the interview and, later, during a virtual fundraising campaign. He told 2,200 donors, many of them veterans of the Obama administration, that his position has always been to take women's claims seriously. `` It is not enough to just take my word and throw it out of hand, '' he said, because `` that kind of approach is how the culture of abuse has been allowed to become infected for so long. '' '
Trump's re-election campaign quickly released a digital ad with prominent Democrats, including Biden and Clinton, that said: `` Believe in women '' and similar sentiments.
`` Ladies and gentlemen, we just can't have it both ways, '' said White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. `` We can't decide which women were included in 'believe in all women.' ''
Hill, long critical of how Biden handled his allegations against Thomas, released a statement highlighting the complexities across the political spectrum. Pointing to Reade, Kavanaugh's accuser Christine Blasey Ford, and Trump's many accusers, Hill called for an investigation of `` pending claims of sexual misconduct '' against Trump and Biden, warning that otherwise, `` the public has to discover the truth about its own. '