Former Vice President Joe Biden denied allegations of a 1993 sexual assault Friday, while also misrepresenting his past statements related to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
“No, it is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened. And it didn’t. It never happened,” Biden told Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” of the charges from former Senate staff assistant Tara Reade.
The presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee was then pushed on past comments on sexual misconduct from himself and prominent supporters, including former Georgia State Rep. Stacey Abrams who is reportedly under serious consideration to be on the Democratic ticket this fall.
“Stacey Abrams said during the Kavanaugh hearings ‘I believe women. I believe survivors of assault should be supported and their voices heard… Are women to be believed unless it pertains to you?” asked Mika Brzezinski.
“Women are to be believed given the benefit of the doubt. If they come forward and say something that they said happen to them, they should start off with the presumption they are telling the truth,” Biden said.
“Do you regret what you said during the Kavanaugh hearing?” Brzezinski followed up.
“What I said during the Kavanaugh hearings was that she had the right to be heard. The fact that she came forward, the presumption would be that she was telling the truth unless she wasn’t telling the truth,” Biden said.
"Do you regret what you said during the Kavanaugh hearing?"
Joe Biden: "What I said during the Kavanaugh hearings was that she had a right to be heard. The fact that she came forward, the presumption would be that she was telling the truth unless she wasn't telling the truth." pic.twitter.com/ZkG6rf281b
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 1, 2020
Only that’s not what Biden said just a year and a half ago.
Ford, Biden said, “should be given the benefit of the doubt,” and stated, “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 the facts.” He praised Ford’s testimony in the Senate as “courageous, credible, and powerful.”
These have shown to be empty words for Reade however, whose story at this point has remained consistent and far more credible than the 30-year-old rape allegations from Ford in 2018. Though, Biden’s comments at the Iowa State Fair last year when he shouted “we choose truth over facts” appear consistent with his approach to Ford’s accusations.
On MSNBC, his concept of truth seemed to change when pressed by Brzezinski. “Why is it real for Dr. Ford, but not for Tara Reade?” she asked.
“They should come forward. They should be heard, and then they should be investigated,” Biden said. “And if there is anything that makes it, that is consistent with what’s being said…and the case is made, then it should be believed. But ultimately, the truth matters,” Biden said.
Biden is just as guilty as the rest of the Democratic Party in exposing a glaring double-standard when it comes to allegations of sexual misconduct, propping up unsubstantiated claims presented by Ford while ignoring far more credible accusations from Reade.
At this point, Reade’s story has been corroborated by multiple witnesses and a transcript of a 1993 tape of CNN’s “Larry King Live” that offer a consistent story of Reade’s description of events.
Ford on the other hand, was unable to prove that she and Kavanaugh had ever even met, let alone provide a single witness to support her claims. Her lifelong friend, Leland Keyser, who Ford named as a witness, was unable to offer credence to Ford’s claims.
Ford however, because her charges were slated to derail a conservative Supreme Court confirmation, was given far more legitimacy to her accusations from Democrats and legacy media than the evidence afforded. Contrast that with the media treatment of Reade, where women’s groups have become silent, Democrats have remained silent, prominent figures in the Me Too Movement have become silent, the media has taken far longer to even pay attention to Biden’s accuser, and the silence has become deafening. According to a media analysis from the Daily Caller, Friday’s MSNBC interview was the first time Biden was asked about Reade in the 37 days that she came public with her claims.
Despite the hypocrisy, there remain important reasons to remain skeptical of Reade’s charges against Biden. Reade says she filed a formal complaint to her supervisors in the Senate office that led to her termination which would lead a hard paper trail, but several Biden Senate staffers have denied knowledge of the complaint, and the paperwork is yet to be seen. Reade is also unable to pinpoint the data and location of the alleged incident, just that it occurred in a congressional hallway.
The presumption of innocence was a standard that was unfortunately not offered to Kavanaugh, but it must be upheld for Biden.