Democratic presidential candidate joe biden vehemently defends himself against accusations of sexual assault in the 1990s. "They are not true. That never happened," explained the former U.S. Vice president.
Biden spoke out for the first time about the allegations against him that have overshadowed his campaign against president donald trump.
The accusations go back a long way: a former staffer from biden’s time as U.S. Senator, tara reade, accuses the now 77-year-old of printing her against a wall in a senate building in 1993, reaching under her skirt and penetrating her with his fingers. Biden’s election campaign had already clearly denied the accusations, but the democrat himself had so far remained silent on the subject.
Now he made two comments: first in a written statement, then in an interview on MSNBC. When women make such accusations, they should be listened to and closely investigated, biden said there. "But only the truth pays." and in this case the allegations are simply untrue. There are many inconsistencies in it – this must be investigated.
Reade had made her accusations public several weeks ago in a podcast. U.S. Media, including the "washington post" and the "new york times," then launched investigations, spoke with reade, the wife’s former departures, and former biden staffers. They did not find clear evidence to support their account. The woman’s account raises some questions. However, more snippets of information gradually came to light, increasing the pressure on biden to break his silence.
Reade had confided in several people, including her mother, who has since died. Her brother, whom the 56-year-old said she told about the incident at the time, did not immediately corroborate the account, according to the washington post. Another person close to her had said that reade had reported the incident at the time – but that person wished to remain anonymous. Employees of biden’s senate office, in turn, in whom the woman also claims to have confided, emphatically rejected her account.
Biden referred to the testimonies of his ex-employees: dozens had been questioned and not one had confirmed the statements.
Reade had, according to his own statements, also filed a complaint about the incident at the time. She now demands biden disclose archived documents from his senate days. Biden countered that the archived documents from his years in the senate did not contain any personal files. "I’m sure there’s nothing there," he said. "I have nothing to hide."If the woman had indeed filed an official complaint with a senate office, it could only be found in the national archives. But he said he knew of no such complaint ever having been filed against him.
Biden said he did not know why reade was making the accusations. "I don’t understand it," he said, but stressed: "I’m not going to attack them."
On monday, a neighbor of reade’s at the time and a former colleague from another senate office, to whom reade also claims to have told about the incident in the 1990s, spoke out in a report on the portal "business insider". In earlier interviews, reade had not mentioned these two women as possible props for her portrayal.
She had also complained publicly a year ago – as had a number of other women – that biden had approached her inappropriately in the past. However, at that time he did not comment on the sexual assault that had been alleged. By way of explanation, she said that a year ago she did not have the courage to speak publicly about the attack.
Last spring, shortly before he announced his presidential bid, several women had publicly complained that biden had gotten too close to them against their will in the past – for example, by giving them uninvited caresses such as a pat on the thigh or a kiss on the back of the head. The democrat initially stated stoically that he did not believe he had acted inappropriately. Only later – in the face of growing public pressure – he vowed to do better and promised: "i will be more attentive and respectful of people’s personal space in the future."Times had changed.
The new accusations come at an inopportune time for him. After the withdrawal of left-wing senator bernie sanders, biden is already set as trump’s designated democratic challenger in the early november election. His official candidacy is to be announced at a party convention in the summer. Trump’s campaign long uses read’s accusations to attack biden. On thursday, trump also spoke out for the first time and called on biden to come clean about the accusations. "They could be false accusations," trump said. He had already experienced something like that himself.
Various women have accused trump of sexual assault and even rape, all of which he has denied. During the 2016 campaign, an old audio recording was also made public in which trump spoke suitably and disparagingly about women – and about being able to touch them anywhere he wanted to. He was elected anyway. How damaging read’s accusations are for biden’s election campaign remains to be seen.