A sexual assault allegation towards presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden that was largely ignored within the mainstream media when it surfaced final month is beginning to entice extra consideration, incomes lengthy tales in each The New York Occasions and Washington Submit in current days — however outstanding Democrats proceed to remain silent on the story, together with a lot of the girls who’ve been mentioned as potential vice presidential picks.
The Biden marketing campaign adamantly denies the allegation, as does a former employees member in Biden’s Senate workplace from the time of the alleged incident.
Fox Information on Tuesday reached out to the places of work of 16 of the ladies who’ve been speculated about as doable Democratic vice presidential nominees, together with Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in addition to Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., former Deputy Lawyer Normal Sally Yates and several other others. None responded as of Wednesday morning.
BIDEN CAMPAIGN ADAMANTLY DENIES ALLEGATION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Solely three of the potential picks have commented publicly on the allegations, all this week. They usually typically prevented commenting on the allegations straight.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was requested concerning the allegations in an look on NPR Tuesday. She mentioned girls have the correct to be heard and pointed to investigations by the media into the claims, whereas touting Biden’s previous work on behalf of ladies.
“[I]n this case — and your listeners ought to take a look at the story — there was an intensive evaluation by The New York Occasions. And I feel that is essential to have, particularly involving public figures,” she mentioned. “However I feel once I take a look at — once I see Vice President Biden, somebody I labored with, I see him on — a pacesetter on home abuse — led the invoice earlier than individuals have been even keen to speak about these horrific crimes and has actually been a champion of abuses of energy towards girls and has used his voice on the home abuse entrance in such a giant means.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on her endorsement of Biden Wednesday, famous that the “allegations are being aired publicly” whereas saying that she needed to keep away from commenting additional till she had learn extra into the story.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, on NPR Tuesday, made related feedback.
“Nicely, I feel girls ought to be capable of inform their tales,” Whitmer mentioned, whereas noting the significance of vetting the allegations. She mentioned “it is exhausting to offer you better perception than that, not understanding extra concerning the state of affairs.”
Biden has been accused of sexual assault by a girl named Tara Reade, who was a employees assistant to Biden when he was a senator. Reade got here ahead early final yr to say that Biden inappropriately touched her — as a number of girls did round that point — however did not get a lot publicity for her story exterior of an area newspaper article.
However late final month Reade gave a really completely different and extra graphic account of her interplay with Biden, which allegedly occurred in 1993, that raised the extent of the allegation to sexual assault. Reade’s story first resurfaced in an article in The Intercept. She then was interviewed by podcast host Katie Halper, to whom she detailed the alleged assault, together with saying that Biden “penetrated me together with his fingers and he was kissing me on the similar time and he was saying some issues to me.”
Each the Biden marketing campaign and a former govt assistant to Biden have known as the allegation “false.”
BIDEN ACCUSER TARA READE VOWS NEVER TO VOTE ‘IN A NATIONAL ELECTION AGAIN… I WILL NOT VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN’
“Ladies have a proper to inform their story, and reporters have an obligation to carefully vet these claims. We encourage them to take action, as a result of these accusations are false,” Biden Deputy Marketing campaign Supervisor Kate Bedingfield mentioned in an announcement on the Reade’s accusation.
“In all my years working for Senator Biden, I by no means as soon as witnessed, or heard of, or obtained, any stories of inappropriate conduct, interval — not from Ms. Reade, not from anybody,” Marianne Baker, who labored for Biden’s Senate workplace as an govt assistant from 1982 to 2000, mentioned. “I’ve completely no data or reminiscence of Ms. Reade’s accounting of occasions, which might have left a searing impression on me as a girl skilled, and as a supervisor. These clearly false allegations are in full contradiction to each the internal workings of our Senate workplace and to the person I do know and labored so intently with for nearly twenty years.”
Reade filed a report with Washington, D.C., police on Thursday regarding her allegation that Biden penetrated her with out consent in 1993. Fox Information has confirmed with the District’s police division that she filed the prison criticism, which doesn’t reference Biden by identify.
Reade, who beforehand brazenly advocated for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential marketing campaign, has mentioned that she is not going to vote for Joe Biden in November.
“I cannot ever vote in a nationwide election once more,” Reade mentioned in an announcement to Fox Information. “Regardless of the actual fact I come from a household of Democrats. I labored for Leon Panetta, [California] State Sen. Jack O’Connell and Joe Biden. I labored exhausting for the Democratic Social gathering as a younger girl. It’s apparent by the super smears about me leveled by Biden marketing campaign and supporters after I got here ahead about Biden and the whole lack of assist from any Democrat that they care extra about defending Joe Biden than addressing the intense allegations by me and the opposite seven girls who complained about his misconduct.”
She continued: “Kamala Harris is my consultant and I reached out to her for assist. No response. Joe Biden sexually assaulted and harassed me. All the remainder of political dialogue is noise and an effort to distract from the intense lack of justice I skilled at his fingers. Coming ahead has been troublesome and resulted in 1993 with the lack of my job and profession. Coming ahead final spring 2019 concerning the sexual harassment resulted together with his supporters smearing me on-line. And now, once more. So, no, I cannot vote for Joe Biden.”
Regardless of the Biden denials, the story has moved ahead — if slowly — in current weeks.
The New York Occasions ran a narrative Sunday which mentioned it couldn’t “corroborate any particulars of Ms. Reade’s allegation” and located no sample of such habits by Biden, but in addition talked about the paper had spoken to 2 of Reade’s mates who say she had beforehand advised them concerning the alleged assault.
The Washington Submit additionally ran a protracted story on the Reade allegations Sunday.
SANDERS AIDE CALLS BIDEN SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATION ‘CREDIBLE’
Additionally Sunday, former Sanders marketing campaign Nationwide Press Secretary Briahna Pleasure Grey referred to Reade’s story as “[c]redible sexual assault allegations” as she listed off a variety of points she believed Sanders “generously” didn’t increase towards Biden throughout the Democratic main. She is one of some scattered liberal voices who’re advocating that the Reade allegation be taken significantly, together with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. and liberal activist Rose McGowan.
“As a survivor, the way in which you launched into this girl’s assault is actually vile,” McGowan tweeted Sunday concerning the Washington Submit story on the Reade allegations. “Your motto is ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’ nicely I assume it’s lifeless since you are darkish. Evil lives and it loves the DNC.”
“I feel it is respectable to speak about these items,” Ocasio-Cortez mentioned whereas talking with the ladies’s group The Wing on Tuesday night time, in keeping with CBS Information. “And if we wish, if we, once more, need to have integrity, you possibly can’t say, you recognize — each imagine girls, assist all of this, till it inconveniences you, till it inconveniences us.”
NEW YORK TIMES EDITS BIDEN SEXUAL ASSAULT COVERAGE, DELETES REFERENCES TO PAST INAPPROPRIATE ‘HUGS, KISSES AND TOUCHING’
Biden has beforehand indicated that he thinks girls who deliver ahead sexual assault claims needs to be presumed to be telling the reality.
“For a lady to come back ahead within the obtrusive lights of focus, nationally, you’ve bought to begin off with the presumption that at the very least the essence of what she’s speaking about is actual, whether or not or not she forgets information, whether or not or not it’s been made worse or higher over time,” Biden advised the Washington Submit as allegations of sexual assault swirled across the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Courtroom in 2018. “However no person fails to know that that is like leaping right into a cauldron.”
Biden, nonetheless, has not appeared to undergo any political penalties from the Reade allegations thus far, securing endorsements from Sanders and former President Obama in current days even because the accusations swirled.
The previous vp, who has mentioned he’ll select a girl to be his VP, has additionally not gotten any public pushback from his potential vice presidential nominees. It is unclear if that can change because the Democratic Nationwide Conference strikes nearer and the presidential election ultimately steals again some media headlines after it has been completely upstaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
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President Trump, who has been the topic of his personal sexual assault and harassment allegations previously, has additionally not commented on the Reade accusations towards Biden.
Along with Harris, Warren, Demings and Yates, Fox Information reached out to 12 different Democrats who’ve been speculated about as doable operating mates for Biden, asking them for touch upon the sexual assault allegations towards the presumptive nominee.
Fox Information reached out to Klobuchar; Whitmer; Baldwin; Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham; Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.; Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ailing.; Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams via her voter rights group Honest Struggle.
Fox Information’ Brooke Singman, Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Brian Flood, Patrick Ward, Peter Doocy, Adam Shaw and Gregg Re contributed to this report.