At long last, former Vice President Joe Biden came forward on Friday to personally address an allegation of sexual assault from one of his former Senate staffers, The Hill reported.
Speaking with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, Biden denied the claim from Tara Reade, who says the then-Delaware senator assaulted her in a Capitol hallway in 1993, according to the Washington Examiner.
“Did you sexually assault Tara Reade?” Brzezinski asked on Friday’s episode of Morning Joe.
“No, it is not true,” Biden replied, according to The Hill. “I’m saying unequivocally: it never, never happened, and it didn’t. It never happened.”
“Women have a right to be heard”
According to The Hill, Brzezinski received praise for her questioning of Biden from both sides of the political aisle, though some commentators thought she could have done more in the way of “follow-ups.” Still, when the former vice president said he didn’t remember his Senate office receiving any formal complaint from Reade — despite Reade insisting that she filed one — the MSNBC host pressed him to confirm there isn’t one at all.
“I’m confident there’s nothing,” Biden said. “I’m not worried about it at all.” Still, the presidential hopeful said he’d be comfortable with such a complaint being released. “If it’s there, put it out, but I’ve never seen it. No one has that I’m aware of,” he said. Brzezinski also asked Biden to respond to his previous claims that all “women should be believed.”
“She says you sexually assaulted her,” the MSNBC host pressed.
“Believing women means taking the claim seriously…and then vet it, look into it,” Biden replied. “Women have a right to be heard, and the press should rigorously investigate any claims they make… The claims are false.”
Reade has claimed that the complaint, “if it still exists, is with Biden’s papers at the University of Delaware,” The Intercept reports, but the records “are sealed until two years after Biden leaves public life,” according to the outlet. “Why not strive for complete transparency?” Brzezinski asked Friday of releasing the documents at the University of Delaware.
“A record like this can only be one place. It would not be at the University of Delaware. My archives do not contain personal files,” Biden said. “My archives contain documents — I, uh, when I say personal, [I mean] personnel files, they don’t contain any personnel files — they are public records, my speeches, my papers, my position papers.”
Biden went on: “If that document existed it would be stored in the National Archives where documents from the office she claims to have filed her complaint with are stored. That’s where they are stored.”
When asked if he would call to release “any document with Tara Reads’s name on it” that might be found at the University of Delaware, Biden repeated his claim that there were no such documents to be found at the university.
Take a look at Biden’s full interview, courtesy of MSNBC: