Kamala Harris, whom expected Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced Tuesday as his running mate, said last year that she believes the women who accused Biden of sexual assault.
“I believe them and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it,” Harris said in 2019.
Harris made the comment after several women, including Amy Lappos, Caitlyn Caruso, D. J. Hill, and former Democratic state lawmaker Lucy Flores, all accused Biden of unwanted touching. Flores wrote a story in “The Cut” about how Biden put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair from behind, and “proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head.”
Lappos alleged that Biden “put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me…I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.”
Caruso said Biden put his hand on her thigh and hugged her “just a bit too long” after she’d just spoken at an event about her experience of sexual assault. And Hill claimed that Biden moved his hand down her back during a photo op.
In 2020, after Harris’s comments, Tara Reade also made headlines for accusing Biden of sexually assaulting her while she worked in his U.S. Senate office in 1993. Reade claims she approached then-primary candidate Harris’s campaign with her accusations but didn’t get a response. A senior advisor on the Harris campaign maintained that the request didn’t happen.
After Reade’s accusations were publicized, Harris was criticized as a hypocrite for supporting Biden over Reade, especially after being quick to defend Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. When Harris chose to support Biden instead of Reade, she was already considered on the shortlist as a potential running mate for the Biden campaign.
To all survivors of sexual assault: We hear you. We see you. We will give you dignity. Don't let this process bully you into silence.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 5, 2018
This article has been corrected since publication.