Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden has claimed he doesn’t remember the former Senate staffer who accused him of sexually assaulting her in 1993.
The former Vice President was asked whether he remembered Tara Reade, 56, a woman who accused him in March of reaching under her skirt and assaulting her when he was a senator and she his aide.
Speaking with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell yesterday, Biden was asked whether he remembered the woman – who was 29 at the time of the alleged assault.
‘Well, to be honest with you, I don’t,’ Biden said.
‘But let me get something clear, when a woman makes a claim that she has been harassed or abused, and this claim has changed… she should be taken seriously,’ Biden said.
During an interview with MSNBC (pictured), Biden said he did not remember Reade during her time working as one of his aide’s when he was a Senator, but insisted that she should be taken seriously
‘She should come forward, share her story, she should be taken seriously and it should be thoroughly vetted. And in every case, what matters is the truth. The truth is what matters.
‘And the truth of the case is nothing like this ever, ever happened… I give you my word. It never, ever happened. I give you my word. It never, ever happened.’
Following Biden’s denial, O’Donnell brought his attention to a New York Times opinion piece titled ‘I Believe Tara Reade. I’m Voting for Joe Biden Anyway’ in which the author says that despite believing the accusations, she would still vote for Biden over Donald Trump, writing ‘suck it up and make the utilitarian bargain’.
In response, Biden said: ‘Well, I think they should vote their heart and if they believe Tara Reade, they probably shouldn’t vote for me. I wouldn’t vote for me if I believed Tara Reade.
‘The fact is that look at Tara Reade’s story. It changes considerably. And I don’t want to question her motive, I don’t want to question anything other than to say the truth matters,’ he told the MSNBC host.
‘This is being vetted, it’s been vetted, [by] people [and] scores of my employees over my whole career. This is just totally, thoroughly, completely out of character. And the idea that in a public place, in a hallway I would assault a woman? … I promise you. It never happened.’
Tara Reade (pictured) claims that Biden sexually assaulted her in a Congressional hallway when she was working as a Senate staffer in 1993
Reade has accused Biden of sticking his hand down her skirt and digitally penatrating her in a Congressional hallway when she worked for him as an aide in 1993.
The allegations evolved from what Reade had told reporters in 2019 when a number of women came out and said Biden had touched them inappropriately, though not in a sexual way.
Reade had previously claimed that Biden liked her legs and wanted her to waitress at a Capitol Hill cocktail party while she was on staff. Reade also complained that he was touchy-feely, putting his hands on her shoulders, neck and hair.
‘This is not a story about sexual misconduct; it is a story about abuse of power,’ she had told Vox reporter Laura McGann, who wrote about Reade’s changing story in an essay Thursday.
Reade first told her sex assault story to journalist Katie Halper for her ‘Katie Halper Show’ podcast on March 25.
‘None of that means Reade is lying, but it leaves us in the limbo of Me Too: a story that may be true but that we can’t prove,’ McGann wrote.
While a neighbor of Reade’s recalls the ex-Senate staffer talking about an incident with Biden in the mid-90s, according to reporting from Business Insider, so far no official documentation has been produced. Reade has also said that the sex assault charges weren’t included in any Senate complaint she said she made.
On May 1, Biden denied the allegations on-camera on ‘Morning Joe,’ which was his first television appearance pushing back on Reade’s story.
‘I’m saying unequivocally, it never, never happened,’ Biden said.
Bumbling Joe Biden gaffes his way through COVID-19 roundtable
Presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden bumbled his way through a ‘virtual roundtable’ he hosted on Thursday afternoon, as questions regarding the former Vice President’s mental acuity continue to mount.
Concern of Biden’s mental sharpness has been the subject of constant debate ever since he launched his White House bid last April, following a number of blunders he’s made during televised interviews and campaign speeches in the months since.
And the self-proclaimed ‘gaffe machine’ did little to mitigate those apprehensions during a monologue about soaring unemployment levels on Thursday, in which he wrongly claimed 85,000 jobs have been lost in the US as a result of COVID-19, and millions of Americans have died.
The former Vice President appears to have got his numbers confused. In reality, at least 85,000 Americans have died, while 36.5million have lost their jobs.
During a monologue about soaring unemployment levels on Thursday, Biden wrongly claimed 85,000 jobs have been lost in the US as a result of COVID-19, and millions of people have died
‘We’re … in the middle of a pandemic that has cost us more than 85,000 jobs as of today. Lives of millions of people. Millions of people. Millions of jobs,’ a tongue tied Biden almost unintelligibly babbled at the beginning of the stream.
‘You know, and we’re in a position where, you know we just got new unemployment insurance, this morning, uh, numbers — 36.5 million claims since this crisis began.’
Much like his other livestreamed events, the broadcast was also marred with technical difficulties and audio glitches, but for the most part Biden managed to reign in the gaffes.
President Trump has routinely poked fun at Biden regarding his well-documented stumbles and slips-of-the-tongue, suggesting the Democrat is mentally unfit to hold office.
Last week, in response to Biden teaming up with former rival Bernie Sanders to name Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez co-chairwoman of a climate change panel, Trump said: ‘If you asked him who he named, he wouldn’t even know it… Joe has absolutely no idea what’s happening.’
When quizzed about the prospect of Biden leading the economic recovery if he’s elected in November, Trump said: ‘Biden can’t do it. He doesn’t know he’s alive.’
Another question raised against Biden in recent weeks is who he will announce as his running mate for his 2020 White House bid.
During Thursday’s roundtable, Biden was joined via video by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.