Former Senate aide Tara Reade accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993.

By Kimberly Truong
Updated May 01, 2020 @ 9:00 am
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Over a month after he was accused by a former staffer of sexual assault, Vice President Joe Biden has responded, denying the allegations.

"They aren’t true. This never happened," he said in a statement Friday.

Former Senate aide Tara Reade had accused him of sexually assaulting her when she worked in his office in 1993, when he was a senator from Delaware. She previously told the New York Times that Biden pinned her to a wall in a Senate building, reached under her clothing and penetrated her with his fingers. A friend of Reade's told the Times that she confided in them about the incident at the time that it happened, and another friend and a brother of Ms. Reade’s said she told them over the years about a traumatic sexual incident involving Biden. Earlier this week, Reade's former neighbor went on the record to say she recalled Reade telling her about the incident, telling Business Insider, "This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it."

"While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated," Biden said in his statement. "One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny. Responsible news organizations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways."

In an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday, Biden said of the allegations, "No, it is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened."

Over the last few weeks, Biden has faced criticism for his slow response to the allegation, as well as calls for him to release his Senate papers, held at the University of Delaware.

"The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files," he said in his statement.

In his statement, Biden emphasized his work on the Violence Against Women Act, and appeared to attempt to distinguish himself from President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct and assault by at least 22 women.

"We have lived long enough with a President who doesn’t think he is accountable to anyone, and takes responsibility for nothing. That’s not me," he wrote. "I believe being accountable means having the difficult conversations, even when they are uncomfortable. People need to hear the truth."