Joe Biden directly addressed claims made by former Senate aide Tara Reade on May 1 via a written statement and in an appearance on Morning Joe.
Reade has claimed the former vice president and then-senator reached under her skirt and penetrated her in 1993 when she spent nine months working in his office. She has also said she filed a Senate personnel report at the time about what happened. A former neighbor of Reade's came forward in April and corroborated much of Reade's account in interviews with reporters. Lynda LaCasse said Reade told her about the alleged assault in the mid-1990s.
"I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago," Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, said in a written statement released by his campaign to outlets like the Washington Post ahead of his television appearance. "They aren’t true. This never happened."
"While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. 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," Biden said in the statement.
Biden called for the National Archives to release any record of Reade's reporting of the alleged incident. "To the best of my knowledge there's been no complaints made against me, my Senate office," Biden said on Morning Joe. "This is an open book. There is nothing for me to hide."
"I've said believing women means taking the woman's claim seriously when she steps forward and then vet it, look into it," he continued. "That's true in this case as well … But in the end in every case the truth is what matters and in this case the truth is the claims are false."
Reade has expressed frustration in the past over the lack of coverage of her allegations and the continued support Biden has from prominent female Democrats. "He was on television twice today. No one asked him. No one’s asking the question," Reade previously told Buzzfeed News. "No one’s even posing the question."
"It was really devastating when [Kirsten] Gillibrand and Stacey Abrams and Hillary Clinton, all on the same day, just basically implied my story wasn't true and they believe Joe Biden. I can’t describe to you what that felt like," Reade said on April 30. "I just— I’m stunned. They didn't just say, 'Oh, we're standing with Joe Biden until we hear more.' They just discounted me. They marginalized me. They said they didn't believe me…. I cried for a while because they're important in my life. They've been figures that I looked up to."
She has yet to comment on Biden's most recent statements.
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