Biden: "It did not happen. Period."

(ema - May 1, 2020, updated May 2)  In late March, as former Vice President Joe Biden was close to becoming the presumptive nominee, he faced an allegation of sexual assault from Tara Reade, who worked as a staff assistant for then-Sen. Biden for nine months in 1992-93.  Biden has had to respond to questions about "handsy" behavior before.  On April 3, before he anounced his candidacy, he released a video responding to charges of inappropriate touching. 

Reade's charge was much more serious.  The Biden campaign's initial response came in the form of an April 12 statement to the New York Times from Kate Bedingfield, a deputy campaign manager: “Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women. He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.” The charge did not seemed to gain traction, but after some parts of Reade's story were collaborated, pressure grew on Biden himself to respond. 

He did so on May 1, choosing MSNBC's "Morning Joe" as his venue.  Biden was unequivocal in his denial.  His appearance was fairly effective.  Reade had been scheduled to appear on FOX News Sunday on May 3 but cancelled.  Still Biden may find it difficult to put the allegations behind him as Republicans are not likely to let the issue go away.  They contrast Democrats' treatment of Biden to their handling of Brett Kavanaugh during the 2018 Supreme Court hearings, charging a double standard. 

See also:
Tara Reade interview.  "Biden accuser Tara Reade: 'I wanted to be a senator; I didn't want to sleep with one."  The Katie Halper Show, March 25, 2020.

Ryan Grim.  "#MeToo Allegation Against Jooe Biden Citing Its Nonprofit Status And His Presidential Run."  The Intercept, March 24, 2020.

MSNBC "Morning Joe"
Friday, May 1, 2020

Biden for President
May 1, 2020 

Statement by Vice President Joe Biden

April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every year, at this time, we talk about awareness, prevention, and the importance of women feeling they can step forward, say something, and be heard. That belief – that women should be heard – was the underpinning of a law I wrote over 25 years ago. To this day, I am most proud of the Violence Against Women Act. So, each April we are reminded not only of how far we have come in dealing with sexual assault in this country – but how far we still have to go.

When I wrote the bill, few wanted to talk about the issue. It was considered a private matter, a personal matter, a family matter. I didn’t see it that way. To me, freedom from fear, harm, and violence for women was a legal right, a civil right, and a human right. And I knew we had to change not only the law, but the culture. 

So, we held hours of hearings and heard from the most incredibly brave women – and we opened the eyes of the Senate and the nation – and passed the law.

In the years that followed, I fought to continually strengthen the law. So, when we took office and President Obama asked me what I wanted, I told him I wanted oversight of the critical appointments in the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice and I wanted a senior White House Advisor appointing directly to me on the issue. Both of those things happened.

As Vice President, we started the “It’s on Us” campaign on college campuses to send the message loud and clear that dating violence is violence – and against the law. 

We had to get men involved. They had to be part of the solution. That’s why I made a point of telling young men this was their problem too – they couldn’t turn a blind eye to what was happening around them – they had a responsibility to speak out. Silence is complicity. 

In the 26 years since the law passed, the culture and perceptions have changed but we’re not done yet.

It’s on us, and it’s on me as someone who wants to lead this country. I recognize my responsibility to be a voice, an advocate, and a leader for the change in culture that has begun but is nowhere near finished. So I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago.

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. 

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. 

But this much bears emphasizing.

She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They – both men and a woman – have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organizations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one – not one – who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way – as indeed I would not have.

There is a clear, critical part of this story that can be verified. The former staffer has said she filed a complaint back in 1993. But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint. The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files. It is the practice of Senators to establish a library of personal papers that document their public record: speeches, policy proposals, positions taken, and the writing of bills. 

There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be – the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices. I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there.

As a Presidential candidate, I’m accountable to the American people. We have lived long enough with a President who doesn’t think he is accountable to anyone, and takes responsibility for nothing. That’s not me. I believe being accountable means having the difficult conversations, even when they are uncomfortable. People need to hear the truth.

I have spent my career learning from women the ways in which we as individuals and as policy makers need to step up to make their hard jobs easier, with equal pay, equal opportunity, and workplaces and homes free from violence and harassment. I know how critical women’s health issues and basic women’s rights are. That has been a constant through my career, and as President, that work will continue. And I will continue to learn from women, to listen to women, to support women, and yes, to make sure women’s voices are heard.

We have a lot of work to do. From confronting online harassment, abuse, and stalking, to ending the rape kit backlog, to addressing the deadly combination of guns and domestic violence. 

We need to protect and empower the most marginalized communities, including immigrant and indigenous women, trans women, and women of color. 

We need to make putting an end to gender-based violence in both the United States and around the world a top priority. 

I started my work over 25 years ago with the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. As president, I’m committed to finishing the job.


Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
May 1, 2020

Trump campaign statement on Joe Biden’s response to Tara Reade's allegations

“The only thing Joe Biden did today was dig himself a deeper hole.  He once again demonstrated that he believes he should be held to a different standard than he has set for others. During Justice Kavanaugh’s hearings, Biden made clear that all women should be believed when they come forward with allegations of sexual assault. Biden’s own work during the Obama Administration lowered standards for such accusations on college campuses as to effectively institute a presumption of guilt.  In a dramatic shift, Biden now says ‘believe women’ doesn’t actually mean ‘believe women.’

“Biden also did not address the multiple corroborating witnesses who say Tara Reade told them about the alleged assault in the 1990s. This includes the 1993 phone call to Larry King on CNN by a woman Tara Reade says is her mother.

“Finally, Biden has a different definition of transparency than he sets for others.  While he called for the complete release of Mike Bloomberg’s documents related to complaints against him, Biden made clear he does not want his University of Delaware records released because they could be used against him in the campaign. He also falsely said those records are not ready to be made public.

“The double standard exhibited by Biden, prominent liberal women’s groups, and Democrat elected officials – some of whom want to be Biden’s running mate – is glaring and cannot be allowed to stand. There will be a great temptation among Biden’s supporters to take his lackluster interview performance and declare ‘case closed’ and move on.  We do not know what, if anything, was done to Tara Reade, but there cannot be one set of rules for Joe Biden and another set for everyone else.”

- Erin Perrine, Trump 2020 Principal Deputy Communications Director

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
May 1, 2020  2:55 a.m.

VIDEO: Why Morning Joe Was Chosen to Clean Up Biden’s #MeToo Moment

Biden turns to a reliable ally of Democrats accused of sexual misconduct.

“I don’t think #MeToo wants to take down viable candidates for being affectionate.”

That’s what MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski said a year ago, the last time women were coming forward about Joe Biden’s behavior.

MSNBC’s Morning Joe has never mentioned Tara Reade’s name or let viewers hear her story. But today, Brzezinski and her husband will help the man Reade accused bury this pesky problem, just as they sought to do last year.

“Personally, we love Joe,” said Joe Scarborough. “Love him!” Mika added. “He’s not a predator.”
It’s obvious why these two were chosen to clean up Biden’s #MeToo moment (again). Mika failed to ask a question about it when she interview Biden just two weeks ago. And over the years, she’s established herself as a reliable ally of Democrat men accused of sexual misconduct:
  • Mark Halperin: His “quiet yet calculated professional rehabilitation campaign” enjoyed “the active help of MSNBC Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski,” according to The Daily Beast. “MSNBC managers were blindsided…when Brzezinski devoted a Morning Joe segment to Halperin’s rehab, playing and positively commenting on” one of his radio interviews. Brzezinski was forced to apologize after she criticized Halperin’s victims on air for not being willing to meet with him in person.
  • Al Franken: Mika rushed to victim shame the first of eight women who revealed Franken’s misconduct, dismissing her as a “Playboy model who … voted for Trump.” After Franken resigned, Mika was livid. “Today’s Democrat has to understand that we live in a new, honest, very complicated world,” she lectured. Instead of defending Franken, Democrats “went the way the wind was blowing.”
  • Tom Brokaw: When two women alleged Brokaw sexually harassed them at NBC News in the 1990s,” Mika signed a letter of support for Brokaw. When Mika ran into one of the victims on the street, “she went off on me in a way that was so shocking,” the woman said. She “started yelling at me, saying Tom Brokaw is an old man and he probably wouldn’t survive” the allegations. “She didn’t believe that I had done enough to fend him off,” said the woman.
  • Chris Matthews: After MSNBC dumped Matthews over reports of sexual harrassment, Mika offered a robust defense. “I loved working with Chris Matthews,” she said, criticizing “cancel culture” and wondering “if there might be a better way.” She added, “I remain his friend.”
  • Harvey Weinstein: When the New York Times published a front page story about Weinstein’s decades of offenses, Morning Joe “skipped any mention of Weinstein — a sometime guest on the show whose company signed a book deal with Brzezinski — until the closing minutes of their final hour.” Panelist Donny Deutsch noted that “these stories” about Weinstein “have been legend in Hollywood for many years. Anyone in the business is not surprised.”
  • Joe Biden: Mika’s love for Sleepy Joe is unshakable. When eight women came forward last year to say Biden’s touching made them feel uncomfortable, Mika was having none of it. “One of them says he smelled her hair. I can promise you, I know Joe Biden. He went up behind her and he took a deep breath because he was about to go on stage,” Mika explained. “He's not interested in your hair, okay?” she sneered.

Scarborough’s servitude shouldn’t be forgotten. In February, anticipating Biden may soon drop out of the primary, Brzezinski’s husband penned a flowery love note to Biden in the Washington Post which was then read aloud at length by her on the airwaves.

Last year, Mika went off on Biden’s accusers and mocked their stories. “This, once again, is completely ridiculous,” she said. “I refuse to give it any more time.”

Today’s MSNBC “exclusive” is not a serious, unscripted reckoning for Biden. It’s a fan club running interference for another friend.

Republican National Committee
May 1, 2020

Democrat Double Standard

Two Years After Rushing To Attack Brett Kavanaugh, Democrats Are Singing A Different Tune On Joe Biden



At the request of the Biden Campaign The New York Times amended their report on the sexual assault allegations, eliminating language acknowledging that Biden has engaged in “hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”

The Biden Campaign was quick to send talking points that instructed allies to say that Reade’s allegations “did not happen” and cite The New York Times report.

The guidance indicated that the campaign is working to cast the allegations as “thoroughly vetted ,” and though a New York Times spokeswoman dismissed Biden’s narrative as “inaccurate ,” his allies have been more than happy to comply.

Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams , a Biden surrogate and aspiring VP pick, echoed those talking points saying, “The New York Times did a deep investigation, and they found that the accusation was not credible.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) downplayed the allegations by citing the amended report saying, “you can look at that article in The New York Times … and they thoroughly interviewed dozens of people.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said that Reade has a right to tell her story but she could, “only speak to the Joe Biden I know,” going on to praise him as a, “lifelong fighter, in terms of stopping violence against women.”


Biden was forced to walk back his 2018 stance that when a woman comes forward with sexual assault allegations “you've got to start off with the presumption ” that she is telling the truth.

In 2018 he also said that, “for a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts.”

When confronted on that hypocrisy this morning, Biden now claims that, though he believed women’s claims should be taken seriously before they must be vetted thoroughly.

His fellow Democrats were also far less hasty in their evaluation of accusations against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh, calling for the Senate to delay his nomination until a full FBI investigation could be conducted.

Sen. Harris: “People in the FBI who have the experience dealing with sexual assault should be charged with doing an investigation.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called for a full investigation into Ford’s accusations saying, “we need to take the time to get it right.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): “Clearly what has to happen now is the FBI needs to do a full investigation.”

Then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) insisted that their desire for a full investigation was not a political issue but a “matter of respect for the women making the allegations.”

When asked about concerns their handling of allegations against Kavanaugh could hurt Democrats politically Sen. Klobuchar insisted that that was not a concern, “this wasn’t a hand to be played, she came forward and we had to give her, her day.”

Sen. Klobuchar went on to say that she felt obligated to act, “ when you are in a position of power and something comes forward at the last minute what do you do, do you just sweep it under the rug?