A sexual assault allegation in opposition to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden that was largely ignored within the mainstream media when it surfaced final month is beginning to appeal to extra consideration, incomes lengthy tales in each The New York Instances and Washington Submit in current days — however distinguished Democrats proceed to remain silent on the story, together with many of the ladies who’ve been mentioned as potential vice presidential picks.
The Biden marketing campaign adamantly denies the allegation, as does a former staff member in Biden’s Senate workplace from the time of the alleged incident.
Fox Information on Tuesday reached out to the workplaces of 16 of the ladies who’ve been speculated about as potential 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 Legal professional Basic Sally Yates and a number of other others. None responded as of Wednesday morning.
Solely three of the potential picks have commented publicly on the allegations, all this week. And so they typically averted commenting on the allegations immediately.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was requested concerning the allegations in an look on NPR Tuesday. She mentioned ladies have the suitable 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 overview by The New York Instances. And I feel that is essential to have, particularly involving public figures,” she mentioned. “However I feel after I take a look at — after I see Vice President Biden, somebody I labored with, I see him on — a pacesetter on home abuse — led the invoice earlier than folks had been even prepared to speak about these horrific crimes and has actually been a champion of abuses of energy in opposition to ladies and has used his voice on the home abuse entrance in such an enormous approach.”
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 wished to keep away from commenting additional till she had learn extra into the story.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, on NPR Tuesday, made comparable feedback.
“Properly, I feel ladies ought to have the ability to inform their tales,” Whitmer mentioned, whereas noting the significance of vetting the allegations. She mentioned “it is laborious 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 ladies did round that point — however did not get a lot publicity for her story exterior of a local 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 identical 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.”
“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 acquired, any reviews 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 information 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 without consent in 1993. Fox Information has confirmed with the District’s police division that she filed the felony grievance, which doesn’t reference Biden by title.
Reade, who beforehand brazenly advocated for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential marketing campaign, has mentioned that she won’t 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 laborious for the Democratic Occasion as a younger lady. It’s apparent by the great smears about me leveled by Biden marketing campaign and supporters after I got here ahead about Biden and the entire 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 ladies 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 arms. Coming ahead has been tough 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 Times 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 additionally 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 Post additionally ran an extended story on the Reade allegations Sunday.
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 in opposition to Biden in the course of the Democratic major. She is one of some scattered liberal voices who’re advocating that the Reade allegation be taken severely, 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 lady’s assault is actually vile,” McGowan tweeted Sunday concerning the Washington Submit story on the Reade allegations. “Your motto is ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’ effectively I assume it’s useless since you are darkish. Evil lives and it loves the DNC.”
“I feel it is respectable to speak about these items,” Ocasio-Cortez said whereas talking with the ladies’s group The Wing on Tuesday night time, in line with CBS Information. “And if we wish, if we, once more, wish to have integrity, you possibly can’t say, — each imagine ladies, assist all of this, till it inconveniences you, till it inconveniences us.”
Biden has beforehand indicated that he thinks ladies who carry ahead sexual assault claims needs to be presumed to be telling the reality.
“For a girl to come back ahead within the evident lights of focus, nationally, you’ve obtained to start out off with the presumption that a minimum of the essence of what she’s speaking about is actual, whether or not or not she forgets details, whether or not or not it’s been made worse or higher over time,” Biden advised the Washington Post as allegations of sexual assault swirled across the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Courtroom in 2018. “However no person fails to grasp that that is like leaping right into a cauldron.”
Biden, nevertheless, 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 vice chairman, 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 totally upstaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
President Trump, who has been the topic of his personal sexual assault and harassment allegations previously, has additionally not commented on the Reade accusations in opposition to Biden.
Along with Harris, Warren, Demings and Yates, Fox Information reached out to 12 different Democrats who’ve been speculated about as potential working mates for Biden, asking them for touch upon the sexual assault allegations in opposition to 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-Sick.; Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams by 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.