Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said this week that those who believe the accusation of sexual assault against him by former aide Tara Reade “probably shouldn’t vote for me.”
Biden spoke about Reade during an interview Thursday with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell in which he said he does not even remember Reade, who worked for the former senator from Delaware in 1992 and 1993.
Reade has accused the former vice president of sexually assaulting her in 1993, saying Biden kissed, groped and digitally penetrated her during an unwanted sexual advance. Biden has denied Reade’s allegation.
During his interview, Biden said the truth is on his side.
“Let me make something clear,” Biden said.
“When a woman makes a claim that she has been harassed or abused, and this claim has changed as it’s gone on, but harassed or abused, she should be taken seriously. She should come forward, share her story. She should be taken seriously, and it should be thoroughly vetted.
“And in every case, what matters is the truth. Truth is what matters. And the truth of the case is nothing like this ever, ever happened,” Biden said.
“She has a right to be heard but then it should be vetted, and the truth ultimately matters. And I give you my word, it never, ever happened,” he continued.
O’Donnell asked Biden about female voters who have supported him, but believe Reade.
“Well, I think they should vote their heart,” Biden said.
“If they believe Tara Reade, they probably shouldn’t vote for me. I wouldn’t vote for me if I believe Tara Reade.
“The fact is that — look at Tara Reade’s story. It changes considerably. And so, but I don’t want to question her motive. I don’t want to question anything other than to say the truth matters,” he said.
“This is being vetted. It’s been vetted. They went and people interviewed scores of my employees over my whole career.”
But one high-profile female Democrat said Biden is doing too little.
“The fact that he has to be pressured every single time something in his past is brought up, a mistake that he’s made, a position that he’s taken, etcetera, is just a complete failure as it relates to leadership,” Lucy Flores, a former Nevada legislator who has claimed Biden touched her without her consent, told Bloomberg.
“This isn’t to discount some of the good things that Joe Biden has done, and that’s part of his problem is that he tries to constantly use some of the good things that he has done as if it settles all of his debts in some way and it doesn’t,” she said, noting that while she will vote for Biden, she knows other women will not.
Reade has said Biden should end his campaign.
“You and I were there, Joe Biden. Please step forward and be held accountable. And if you feel that you can address this in a real way, then you know and I know that you should step down,” Reade told former Fox News and NBC host Megyn Kelly in an interview released last week.
“You should not be running on character for the president of the United States,” she added, according to CNN.