Ever since Tara Reade accused Joe Biden of sexual assault back in March, the former vice president hasn’t directly addressed the allegations. Only his campaign released a statement saying, “Women have the right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.”
Now, after a Medium article was published by Biden himself denying Reade’s allegations, the Democratic presidential candidate went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” with Mika Brzezinski to further answer questions.
The interview has drawn some criticism, mainly because a lot of the legitimacy of Reade’s claims were framed around a complaint she says she filed that doesn’t even have to do with the alleged assault. According to Reade, the complaint regarded other alleged behavior from Biden that created an uncomfortable work environment for Reade when she worked at his then-Senate office in 1993.
“Mika was persistent and I want to give her credit but she also accepted the framing of the Biden camp that the veracity of this claim should rest on the production of this one document from 27 years ago,” wrote The Hill co-host, Krystal Ball. “We already have contemporaneous evidence of Tara’s recollection at the time.”
Reade says that the alleged assault happened when her and Biden were “alone” in 1993 in a “side area” that was “down towards the capital.” So far, Reade says she told a friend, her brother and her now deceased mother about the alleged assault, and everyone but her mother has corroborated these claims. In addition to this, 1993 footage from “Larry King Live” reveals that Reade’s mom called in to seek advice for “problems” her daughter was having at a senator’s office, according to The Intercept. Reade confirmed the voice in the clip was her mom, Jeanette Altimus. Finally, a former neighbor also claimed that Reade told her about being sexually assaulted by someone she “idolized”.
Despite not bringing up these points, Brzezinski still grilled Biden with some hard questions that he’ll have to stand by if more information should surface. You can check out five takeaways from her interview with Biden below:
1. “It is not true.” – Biden doubles down on his claims that he never sexually assaulted Reade.
When Brzezinski provided the graphic details of Reade’s allegations and asked Biden if this happened, he responded, “No it is not true. I’m saying unequivocally, it never, never happened.”
2. Biden dodges the question on whether he remembers Tara Reade and asserts that he nor his campaign have reached out to her.
When Brzezinski asks “Do you remember her? Do your remember any types of complaints that she might have made?” Biden responded “I don’t remember any kind of complaint she may have made. It was 27 years ago. And I don’t remember nor does anyone else, as I’m aware of.” Biden added that he nor his campaign have reached out to Reade. “No I have not reached out to her. It was 27 years ago. This never happened,” he said.
3. Biden welcomes women coming forward, but says the allegations should also be “investigated.”
Brzezinski referenced the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings in 2018 when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. At the time, Biden said, “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 is talking about is real. Whether or not she forgets the facts. Whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time.”
When Brzezinski asks “Why is it real for Dr. Ford but not for Tara Reade?” Biden responds “I’m not suggesting she had no right to come forward and I’m not saying any woman…they should come forward, they should be heard and then it should be investigated.”
4. “I’m confident there’s nothing” – Biden continually denies that any complaints against him were made and if they do exist they would be at the National Archives.
Many publications have reported that if Reade made a complaint, it would be apart of Biden’s Senate papers, which were donated to the University of Delaware. However, in a statement to CNN, the university said:
“The University of Delaware received the Biden Senatorial Papers as a gift from Vice President Biden. We are currently curating the collection, a process that we estimate will carry at least into the spring of 2021. As the curating process is not complete, the papers are not yet available to the public, and we are not able to identify what documents or files can be found within the collection.” They went on to say that they wouldn’t release the papers until two years after Biden retires from public life.
However, Biden says that Reade’s complaint wouldn’t be with his senate papers at the University of Delaware, which include, “speeches, policy proposals, positions taken, and the writing of bills.” He says they would be with The National Archives “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.”
But even with this statement, when Brzezinski asked Biden if he was “absolutely positive there is no record of any complaint by Tara Reade” against him, Biden responded, “I am absolutely positive, that no one that I’m aware of ever has been made aware of any complaint, a formal complaint or a complaint, by Tara Reade against me at the time this allegedly happened 27 years ago or…until April or May of this year.”
5. Biden was caught off guard when Brzezinski asked “Why not do a search of Tara Reade’s name?” at The University of Delaware.
Biden said one of the main reasons he didn’t want the University of Delaware papers released is because they could be taken out of context now that he’s running for office again.
However, Brzezinski challenged him that if this is the case, why not just do a specific search of Reade’s name. When Biden was asked this, after some pause, he responded with another question: “Look who does that search?”
Brzezinski responded, “The University of Delaware. Perhaps you set up a commission.”
Then Biden doubled down, saying only the National Archives will have the complaint if Reade filed it.
To check out the full interview, you can watch it below.