Former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden denied claims on Friday by a former staffer that he sexually assaulted her. Biden gave an interview on Friday, May 1, stating that Reade’s allegations were untrue. He cited the testimony of other staffers who worked in his office at the time, and the changing nature of Reade’s allegations.
In the interview, Biden stated, “This never happened.” He continued, “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.”
Several prominent Democratic strategy leaders have expressed frustration with the allegations against Biden. Many have noted that there has been more scrutiny on Reade’s claim than on the numerous allegations against President Donald Trump. Biden seemed to echo this sentiment.
“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.” Biden’s campaign has made note of alleged inconsistencies in Reade’s recounting. Biden further emphasized what he saw as a lack of evidence that Reade was telling the truth.
Biden alleged that, despite her recounting of events, there was no evidence she had spoken to her supervisor about the alleged incident. The former vice president alleged that other senior staffers had stated that they had no recollection of Reade telling them about an attack by their boss.
Biden goes on to state that he would have never tolerated harassment of any kind in his office. Others who worked for Biden when he was a senator have expressed similar sentiments. Higher-ups from Biden’s senate office in that era have expressed confusion about Reade’s allegations.
Biden is not the only presidential candidate accused of sexual assault. Since the 1980s, no less than 23 women have accused current president Donald Trump of various forms of assault or harassment. Trump has unilaterally denied all claims of misconduct.
During the 2016 election season, a now-infamous tape of Trump from an Access Hollywood interview surfaced. In it, Trump jokes about “moving on” women, and claims that, when you’re famous, you can just grab women inappropriately. Trump has dismissed the leaked audio as “locker-room talk.” The president’s critics have alleged that the tape shows Trump’s lack of respect for women.