Trouble is swirling in the Biden basement as more corroboration emerges about Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against the former vice president. We have passed the point where Reade’s story has as much, if not significantly more evidence backing it up than Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The good news for Biden is that Kavanaugh survived and now sits on the Supreme Court. The bad news for Biden is that every one of the top women he is considering to be his running mate seems to think that was result was a horrible miscarriage of justice. As Rebecca Traister points out in New York Magazine piece called “The Biden Trap,” any of these women would be putting themselves in a very difficult position.
So let’s have a look at what they all said back in 2018 when the Kavanaugh fight was roaring, and see if we can square it with anything other than a call for Biden to drop out. Because whoever gets picked is going to be spending a whole lot of time doing exactly that.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota had one of the more testy and vibrant exchanges with Brett Kavanaugh to occur during his hearings, when Kavanaugh punched back in frustration asking her if she had ever been black out drunk. He later apologized. But throughout the process she was adamant that an FBI investigation take place, and scoffed at those opposed to it saying, “They’re afraid of what they’re going to find out.”
As to Ford’s allegations, Klobuchar had this to say, “when you look at the rules of evidence, when you look at credibility, the fact that she had mentioned this before means a lot.” Presumably the fact that Tara Reade told people about her allegation in the 1990s, including her mother who talked about it on television, also means a lot.
Based on her comments at the time of the Kavanaugh controversy, Tara Reade should have good reason to think that Stacey Abrams will have her back, after all she tweeted this.
After the courageous and compelling testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford yesterday, it is shameful that Kavanaugh's nomination is being rushed forward.
I believe women, and I believe survivors of violence always deserve to be supported and to have their voices heard. https://t.co/rtT1PQr4Zq
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) September 28, 2018
So at the very least, Abrams should be demanding an investigation and ensuring that Reade is fully heard out before she agrees to be Joe Biden’s running mate. Unless somehow there are two different sets of rules for Democrats and Republicans, but that can’t be true.
Sen. Kamala Harris
Back in 2018, when addressing Ford’s allegations Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California said, “I believe her. Listen, first of all, anybody who comes forward at this point to be prepared to testify in the United States Senate against someone who’s being nominated to one of the most powerful positions in the United States government, that takes an extraordinary amount of courage.”
Asked about why Ford had chosen to come out with her story Harris said, “She’s doing it, I believe, because she knows that this is an important matter. It’s a serious matter. And she has the courage to come forward. She has nothing to gain.”
Well, electing a president of the United States is also a fairly serious matter.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
I still believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. And like the man who appointed him, Brett Kavanaugh should be impeached.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 28, 2019
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts kind of got a twofer here, going after Kavanaugh and Trump, but she does make clear what the result of a corroborated allegation of sexual assault against a powerful person should be. And appearing with a group a protestors during the Kavanaugh confirmation process Warren said, “I’m here with people of conscience who believe that when a woman comes forward that she has a right to be listened to, and there needs to be a full investigation.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
I believe Dr. Ford
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) September 27, 2018
Even though she was less of a national name at the time, Michigan Gov. Whitmer got in on the act too. It was after all de rigueur in Democratic circles. There was no debate about this, you believed Ford and wanted Kavanaugh out, or you were a pro-sexual assault misogynist pig.
To make matter even worse, Reade says she contacted the 2020 campaigns of Warren and Harris, but they never pursued an investigation into her story. And neither of the Senate office returned our request for comment. This was before Biden had all but sewed up the nomination, when “amplifying women’s stories” might have made a difference.
I have no idea if Joe Biden should be disqualified from the presidency based on these allegations. Many of the Kavanaugh defenses apply to him, just as many of the Kavanaugh attacks do. But any female pick for running mate that Biden makes is tying herself to this star and will need to explain their previous position on believing women. It’s not going to be easy.