Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) on Tuesday night defended presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden when asked about sexual assault allegations from Tara Reade, a former Biden aide who has alleged that the then-senator sexually assaulted her in a secluded part of Capitol Hill in 1993.
“I believe that women deserve to be heard and I believe they need to be listened to, but I also believe that those allegations have to be investigated by credible sources,” Abrams, who is said to be on the shortlist to be Biden’s running mate, told CNN’s Don Lemon
“The New York Times did a deep investigation and they found that the accusation was not credible,” she added. “I believe Joe Biden.”
The Times, in the report that Abrams referenced, said that the newspaper found “no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden” but didn’t come to a conclusion on the credibility of Reade’s allegations.
In 2019, Reade was one of several women who came forward and said that Biden’s public touching had made them uncomfortable.
Last month, she alleged
for the first time that Biden had assaulted her. Lynda LaCasse, a former neighbor of Reade’s, said earlier this week that she recalled Reade recounting the story of the alleged assault to her at the time. Reade’s brother, Collin Moulton, has previously said that she told him that Biden “had his hand under her clothes at some point.”
Reade said that she confronted other Biden aides about the alleged incident at the time, but the aides that she named have gone on the record saying that Reade never confronted them about the allegation. Reade also said she filed a complaint with the human resources office in the Senate about the allegations of inappropriate touching, though reporters to this point have failed to find the complaint. Reade said she believes that the complaint is in Biden’s Senate archives at the University of Delaware, which has stated that it won’t release the former vice president’s records until he has stepped away from public life.
Biden’s campaign has vigorously denied Reade’s allegations, but the former vice president has not addressed them.
“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield previously said to The Hill. “He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday also defended
Biden, saying “when we say believe women, it’s for this explicit intention of making sure there’s space for all women to come forward to speak their truth, to be heard.”
“And in this allegation, that is what Tara Reade has done. She has come forward, she has spoken, and they have done an investigation in several outlets,” Gillibrand, a former presidential candidate who also called for then-Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign in 2017 in the wake of a sexual harassment allegation, said.
“Those investigations, Vice President Biden has called for himself,” she added. “Vice President Biden has vehemently denied these allegations, and I support Vice President Biden.”