On this file picture taken on Could 18, 2019, former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks in the course of the kick off of his presidential election marketing campaign in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dominick Reuter / AFP
US presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday emphatically denied sexually assaulting a former aide, saying the alleged incident 27 years in the past “never happened.”
The previous vp thus broke a month of silence on essentially the most doubtlessly damaging claims he has confronted since launching his White Home bid a 12 months in the past.
Republicans have tried to make use of them to break his prospects towards President Donald Trump in November’s election.
“They aren’t true. This never happened,” Biden stated in a press release addressing the accusations made by Tara Reade, a former staffer in his Senate workplace.
The marketing campaign of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee had forcefully denied the allegations, however Biden himself had but to handle them publicly till now.
Biden, 77, stated Reade’s then-supervisor and former senior staffers in his workplace “have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues.”
Reade stated on a podcast in March that then-senator Biden sexually assaulted her in a Capitol Hill hall in 1993, when she was 29.
Reade, now 56, alleged that Biden pinned her towards a wall when she introduced him a gymnasium bag, put his fingers “down my skirt” and violated her.
Reade’s public account developed over time. In early 2019, when Biden was making ready his presidential bid, she was amongst a number of ladies who accused Biden of touching them inappropriately, or in ways in which made them really feel uncomfortable.
She has since introduced a extra critical declare of assault to media retailers, and filed an incident report with the Washington police in early April wherein she didn’t identify Biden.
Biden went on a morning information present to publicly refute the claims.
“It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened, and it didn’t,” Biden instructed MSNBC.
“I don’t know why after 27 years all of this gets raised,” Biden added. “But I’m not going to question her motive. I’m not going to attack her.”
However he pressured that “I have a right to say, look at the facts. Check it out.”
Trump, who faces Biden in a presidential election that has been turned on its head by the coronavirus pandemic, himself confronted greater than a dozen accusations of sexual harassment and assault earlier than he turned president.
He got here out Friday on the facet of Biden, telling a right-wing radio host: “I would just say to Joe Biden: Just go out and fight it. It’s, you know, it’s one of those things.”
“I’ve been a total victim of this nonsense false accusations,” he stated.
‘Nothing’ to cover
Reade has not produced a replica of the grievance that she allegedly filed in 1993.
Biden, calling for transparency, stated he has requested officers to go looking the Nationwide Archives, the place he says any such doc would now be saved.
“There’s nothing for me to hide,” he stated.
However Biden resisted the concept of calling for a search amongst his Senate papers.
These paperwork “do not contain personnel files,” he stated.
Throughout a Friday night digital fundraiser, Biden instructed donors he was heartened that journalists have been investigating the matter: “It isn’t enough just to simply take my word for it and to dismiss it out of hand. Frankly, that shouldn’t be enough for anyone.”
Biden, who has pledged to choose a lady to be his vp, pressured that he has all the time labored to enhance circumstances for ladies, together with authoring the Violence In opposition to Girls Act.
He was additionally requested by MSNBC about feedback he made in the course of the 2018 Supreme Court docket affirmation course of for Brett Kavanaugh, who had been accused of sexual assault.
Biden stated on the time that when a lady comes ahead with such accusations, “you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real.”
Requested what made issues completely different now, Biden stated: “Women are to be believed, given the benefit of the doubt, if they come forward and say something happened to them.”
“Then you have to look at the circumstances and the facts,” he added.
“The truth matters,” he stated. “These claims are not true.”
Biden leads Trump in nationwide polling forward of November’s elections by about 5 share factors, in accordance with a ballot common compiled by RealClearPolitics.
A number of ladies seen as candidates to be Biden’s operating mate, together with Senator Kamala Harris and former Georgia state lawmaker Stacey Abrams, have expressed assist for Biden concerning the allegations.
The highest Democrat in Congress, Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, endorsed Biden for president this week and stated Thursday that she stays “satisfied” along with his response to the allegations.
Biden, in the meantime, is carrying on with on-line occasions resembling city halls and fundraisers in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, locked down at his Delaware dwelling the place he constructed a makeshift studio in his basement for tv appearances.