Washington, May 1 (efe-epa).- The presumed Democratic Party presidential nominee on Friday vehemently denied sexual-assault allegations by a former staff assistant, finally commentating on accusations of misconduct amid growing public pressure.
Joe Biden, a former vice president of the United States and erstwhile long-time senator from Delaware, addressed the allegations by 56-year-old Tara Reade in a statement ahead of a television interview Friday with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.
“I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago. They aren’t true. This never happened,” the 77-year-old Biden said.
“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,” he added.
“She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They – both men and a woman – have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues.”
In April 2019, Reade – who supported Elizabeth Warren and later Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries – was one of eight women to accuse Biden of improper touching, but she leveled her most serious allegations just over a month ago.
In a March 25 interview with podcast host Katie Halper, Reade alleged that in the spring of 1993 Biden approached her in a Senate office building, pushed her against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers without her consent.
Biden had remained silent about the allegation until now and left the response in the hands of his campaign staff.
As he remained silent, a significant new development occurred last weekend: the resurfacing of footage from a television talk show in 1993, the same year the alleged crime occurred.
In that footage, a woman who purportedly was Reade’s mother (and who has since died) can be heard calling into the CNN show “Larry King Live” and saying her daughter had been “working for a prominent senator” and “could not get through with her problems at all.”
The caller said she wondered what other options her daughter might have, adding that she had chosen not to take her allegations to the media out of respect for her boss.
An ex-neighbor of Reade’s also told CNN earlier this week that in the mid-1990s the former Biden staffer had told her about the alleged assault.
US President Donald Trump, who has faced numerous similar accusations in the past, on Thursday urged his expected rival in the November presidential election to address the allegations.
“I don’t know anything about it,” Trump said during a White House briefing. “I think he should respond. It could be false accusations. I know all about false accusations.”
The speaker of the US House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, has endorsed Biden for president and said Thursday that she continues to support him despite the Reade allegations.
“I’m a big, strong supporter of the ‘Me Too’ movement. I think it has … made a great contribution to our country. And I do support Joe Biden. I’m satisfied with how he has responded,” Pelosi said.
“I am impressed with the people who worked for him at the time saying they absolutely never heard one iota of information about this. Nobody ever brought forth a claim or had anybody else tell them about such a claim,” she added.
In US politics, the allegations against Biden are being looked at by many in the context of ones leveled in 2018 against a Trump nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh faced decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct by several women, most notably Christine Blasey Ford, who accused the judge of trying to rape her at a party when they were teenagers in the early 1980s.
In that instance, even though alleged witnesses cast doubt on her account, numerous prominent Democrats called for Kavanaugh’s nomination to be withdrawn.